Where Honesty Never Ends.
Peter Van Wermeskerken
Note: The Book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Hello! The Review Board here with our thoughts on Double Spy by Peter Van Wermeskerken. First up, we have Harmony Kent.
Double Spy is an autobiographical account of a young Dutchman who, in his twenties, found himself approached by the STASI of East Germany to spy for them. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he went to the BVD (Dutch Intelligence Service) and told them everything. The upshot was that he ended up becoming a double spy.
Mr Wermeskerken’s story is told with humour, wit, and detail. Some of the writing style shows that English is not his first language, but for me this added authenticity and charm to this intriguing read. The author comes across as being down-to-earth, as well as self-confident and daring. Much of his story is around the cold war, and what life is like within a dictatorship.
If you like biographies, historical non-fiction, and/or spy stories, then you are likely to appreciate this book. Although there are some hiccups here and there within the narrative, they aren’t enough to detract from the enjoyment of the read.
I offer Eight out of Ten stars using the TRB rating scale, which equates to Four out of Five stars using standard scales.
Next we bring you the Truth … Mini Truth.
Double Spy related the real life events based on the Autobiography of Wermeskerken. The author’s approach to telling his story was entertaining and crafty. Although, the story did delve into very serious content matter. In the way that story is narrated it almost seems as though the author kind of stumbles upon being a double agent. Then it proceeds onto the many adventures that he embarked on during his time as a double agent.
In a nut shell, this is a no holds barred account as real life as a double spy.
In the story, not only are you told about the very many facets of this way of life (including and not limited to the very many names of the different organizations), but also about his love life, and his private life. It delivered in a very lighthearted sort of way–or at least as lighthearted as you can get with this type of life.
For all of its virtues, the unfortunate truth is that I did not enjoy the story as much as most. This may have something to do with the language barrier. Yet, I can only speak for myself and no one else. While the narrative was not wholly terrible, for me it didn’t really cut it.
This review will be a bit on the shorter side for a Mini Truth review, as I don’t really have much to say. The hard thing about autobiographies is that you can’t belie them, so you have to take what they say at face value. Then, one must look at the story through the eyes of the author and make their judgement accordingly.
Here are some reasons why Double Spy wasn’t among my favorite pieces of literature:
Reason Number 1:
I suppose the thing that irked me the most was the erroneous grammatical aspects. YES! I do realize that the author’s first language is not English. I get that completely. However, I do feel that if you’re going to put out a book for an English speaking public that you should get a professional translator and editor to help you with the project. Following is an example:
Why on earth is there an EM Dash just before parenthesis? A professional editor would have caught this mistake. This is one example of many.
Reason Number 2:
I get that the author was attempting to tell a story through humorous eyes. I really do. Nevertheless, I honestly I think that humor must at least attempt to be universal. Here is what I mean:
Okay, so was he talking to a man (German Communist), a grey mouse, or a man that looked like a grey mouse whom happened to be communist? I just don’t know. What’s the punch line here?
Reason Number Three:
From the gate, we are introduced to a high volume of different organizations by name then acronym, then what they did. All of this was clustered together in a back to back narrative that gave no breathing space or time to process the information. Then we are thrust into the story. Next we are sort of expected to remember who was whom and what they did whenever the author mentioned an acronym.
I feel like a judge on Chopped … “Mr. Wermeskerken, you did the best you could. I commend you for that. However, due to the indigestible comedy, rancid cluster of information and inorganic grammar … these are some of the reasons we had to chop you.”
My verdict is 5 TRB Stars.
Well, that settles it, tallying up the scores, it looks like “Double Spy” by Peter Van Wermeskerken had garnered …
6.5 out of 10 Stars.
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