by Jonathan Payn
September 4-29, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Journey to an unnamed mountainous country in central Europe at the end of the Great War. Enter Citizen Orlov, a simple fishmonger and an honest, upright citizen, who answers a phone call meant for a secret agent and stumbles into a hidden world of espionage and secrecy. Recruited by the Ministry of Security, he is sent on assignment to safeguard the king.
But Orlov soon discovers that his ministry handler, the alluring femme fatale Agent Zelle, is planning not to protect the king but to assassinate him. Caught in a web of plot and counterplot, confusing loyalties, and explosive betrayals, Orlov finds himself on trial for murder. Given the opportunity to clear his name, he finds that the lives of his friends, mother, and fellow citizens hang in the balance.
Praise for CITIZEN ORLOV:
"A triumph—and an answer to that age-old question of what would have happened had Gogol, Kafka and G. K. Chesterton collaborated on a thriller. A timeless work which will, I fear, be forever timely."
~ Dixe Wills, author of Places to Hide and New World Order
"Jonathan Payne's Citizen Orlov is a stunning debut! A page turning, down-the-rabbit-hole delight, told with equal measure of wit and suspense. A timeless classic for our current moment; a paranoid and comic thriller with a surprise on every page. I loved it!"
~ Don Scardino, Producer/Director, 30 Rock, New Amsterdam
"Highly engaging, and written with an engaging lightness of touch, Citizen Orlov marks the debut of a comic novelist to watch for the future."
~ Dr. Adam Lively, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing & Programme Leader, MA Novel Writing, Middlesex University
"The blend of action and picaresque buffoonery flatteringly calls Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard tales to mind, and Payne pulls off a genuinely surprising conclusion. This auspicious debut announces a bright new voice in comic suspense."
~ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
[An] odyssey that seems part Kafka, part ‘Alice in Wonderland.
~ Wall Street Journal
It is hard to describe this novel. It is part thriller, part spy intrigue, part humor, part satire, near fantasy, and maybe more. Orlov is a citizen who accidentally, through a tortuous route, finds himself as a hero. He starts out seeming to be a somewhat ignorant or innocent individual caught up in events well beyond his understanding. He bumbles along, always trying to do what he thinks is best. I was surprised at his transformation into a quite competent individual, smarter than those trying to use him.
The kingdom location and era of this novel is not specified which makes it kind of a universal adventure. It is certainly an entertaining read. One thing I learned from it was, should I be walking down an ally and hear a phone ringing through an open window, forget it. Let someone else answer it.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Espionage Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: May 2023
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780744309010 (ISBN10: 0744309018)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)