In the murky world of espionage, the rules do not apply

This is truly a powerhouse read with action and drama on each page.

A truly binge-worthy read if ever there was one, once I started reading The Agency, by James Phelan, I simply could not put it down.

The central character, Jed Walker is your typical Alpha, macho man who simply can’t exist without his daily fix of murder, mayhem and of course the obligatory sexual romp to round off the day.

A serving Air Force Special Operations officer who has recently been promoted to Lt. Colonel and slated for a desk job in Washington, he decides instead to apply for admission into the CIA in the hope of continuing with his life-sustaining fix of action, all in the name of his country’s good of course

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He is sent to New Orleans to find some pesky Russians who are trying to wreak mayhem and havoc on the free world and in the course of the first day on the job he meets a British agent, Stephanie from the renowned MI5.

He has doubts as he is aware that his new Agency is not supposed to operate on home soil, but being a good operative, he does what he is told.

Surprise, surprise, he meets up with Steph, as he calls her, is also in pursuit of the same badass Russians. Guess what, this British Agent is also a drop gorgeous female version of James Bond who within minutes of meeting our hero, saves his life and whisks him off to safety.

The body count rapidly rises with each page, and in the interests of gender equality, the killings seem to be equally divided between macho man and killer beauty.

We are introduced at the beginning of the story to a group of brilliant, if not unpatriotic computer hackers who initially are recruited by the British Agent and go on to do their best work for the good old USA.

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Add into the mix the imminent arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the suspense builds.

The prize our heroes are searching for is a rogue double agent, possibly a triple agent who has been giving Her Majesty’s Secret Service in London a huge headache, and who is suspected of intending to sell a device worth hundreds of millions to the Chechen incoming government, who as we all know are really puppets of the Russian Federation.

Now add to this mix hopeless Agents from the FBI and it gets even more interesting. These FBI guys seem to be extremely good at getting themselves killed. Both the UK and US governments deny all knowledge of any involvement and when the hapless heroes get themselves into a difficult situation they are inevitably left to their own devices to get out of trouble.

They heist luxury boats and houseboats with impunity, manage to outwit all of the collective Russian baddies and FBI incompetents, rescue a young innocent girl from captivity and still have plenty of time for a delicious romp in the bedroom.

Wow! I got exhausted just reading about it. Talk about stamina.

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What a man!

Although I have written this review in a light-hearted vein, the book itself is certainly fantastic and really warrants your time reading it. It is one of those books which are an escape avenue in a dreary, well-ordered world.

James Phelan has 26 books under his belt and is a superb storyteller. He has been a full-time novelist since he was 25 and it certainly shows in this book. It is completely professional and flows from the first to last page. Another great read from Hachette.

The Agency, by James Phelan, is available in paperback, digital and audio editions from the publisher Hachette Australia, click here for details