Article first published as Book Review: ‘Invective’ by Andy Owen on Blogcritics.
“Invective” by Andy Owen is a difficult story to categorize. At its core it is a spy thriller about Ismael, a Secret Service informant who ends up on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, while working as both a jihadist and Secret Service informant. Ismael, unlike your average fictitious spy/terrorist, is a well-educated and reflective individual who spends much of the narrative reflecting at what has brought him to this point in his life, and also the seeming senseless violence on both sides. How often do terrorists introspectively look at why they are terrorists or if they are somehow being manipulated by the warrior gene and their genetic make-up? The fact that Ismael was adopted and is not native to the region make this possible, and having such a well informed, and reflective perspective definitely make the book stand apart from others in the genre.
While “Invective” can be read as a spy novel, it is in fact far more. Owen manages to make it just as much of a human interest story as a spy thriller without ever letting the story become boring or slow. Ismael is an easily likeable character who you cannot help but sympathize with; he does not seek pity from the reader and rarely ever tries to justify his decisions. In fact, it is his ability to analyze what he does and what he is willing to do, that makes him and the story so intense. Ismael offers a fascinating perspective on the process of radicalization of terrorists in our society. The story is timely and accurately detailed. Owen describes Afghanistan and Pakistan as if he has had experiences in both countries. Owen shows great insight into radical Islam and current affairs in the war on terror.
I would highly recommend “Invective” by Andy Owen to three kinds of readers. First, is anyone looking for a spy novel, second is anyone interested in the global war on terror, the radicalization process, or extremist group tactics, and the third to anyone who wants to see just how good indie authors can be. That being said, anyone who likes a good book in general should read “Invective.” It is a complex and excellently crafted story. It is obvious that Andy Owen put a tremendous amount of time into research and development of the book. I do not normally care for modern-day spy novels but “Invective” took me by complete surprise and I could not stop reading—I was hooked before I even finished the first page. This is due completely to the believability of the character Ismael, and the fact that it is instantly apparent that the author knows his subject matter. The book only took about three sittings to read so it is not long or at least not easy to put down. Seriously, just go read the book…you will not regret it.