Michael Frayn's farcical novel Skios begins with a man leaving an airport and being seized by the urge (and, admit it, we've all felt it) to see what would happen if he approached a driver holding a pickup sign and pretended to be the person named on it. This debut thriller by the Israeli journalist Dov Alfon has the same starting point – only he plays the idea for thrills rather than laughs.... This is a deeply enjoyable espionage thriller with plenty of juicy details about modern spycraft, and although he is sometimes as sardonic and cynical as John le Carré, Alfon's style is light and relaxed. He invests his heroes, Bond-esque spymaster Colonel Zeev Abadi and his beautiful, brilliant deputy Lt Oriana Talmor, with his own agreeable sense of humour, with the result – something of a rarity in this macho, moody genre – that this is a spy novel with lead characters who are genuinely likeable.
Dov Alfon writes with flair and confidence. His insider knowledge brings an added layer of verisimilitude. The bitter competition between the multiple wings of the Israeli intelligence complex and a further set of rivals in the military are vividly drawn, as is the snake pit of high-level Israeli politics... Each scene is a chapter, 120 in total. The short bursts of action and multiple point-of-view characters sometimes make for a bitty narrative. But Alfon is skilled enough to ensure that the book races along with pace and verve to a satisfying ending.