Aiken in Check | Critical Book Review
A Circuitous Tale of Deceit and Intrigue
Aiken in Check by Michael Frost Beckner thrusts readers into a heart-pounding world of espionage, treachery, and clandestine operations. This indie spy novel serves up a narrative that, while intriguing, can prove somewhat perplexing for those seeking a straightforward plotline.
A Cuban Prelude
The story unfolds amidst the iron grip of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, where CIA operative Nina Estrada finds herself ensnared by the ruthless Cuban authorities. Russell Aiken, compelled to betray his homeland to save Nina, weaves a tale of intrigue, betrayal, and covert escapades. Aiken’s narrative delves into a web of past events, chronicling the lives and exploits of Nathan Muir, Tom Bishop, and the origins of operations HOUNDFOX and TIME MACHINE.
Silas Kingston, the puppet master of counter-intelligence, exploits the Muir-Bishop dynamic for his personal gain, showing no qualms about doing so once more. However, the stakes have never been higher, and Aiken is determined to prevent history from repeating itself.
Unveiling the Past
As a component of the Aiken Trilogy, this novel meticulously elucidates the intricacies of incidents referenced in prior installments. Readers gain insight into the daring rescue of Elizabeth Hadley from China and the precise execution of Charlie March’s assassination. These revelations satiate the curiosity that often plagues devoted readers.
A Glimpse into the Human Psyche
Amidst the cloak-and-dagger theatrics, Beckner interjects thought-provoking musings on human nature. The narrative offers a fresh perspective on what constitutes reason, heroism, and cowardice.
“We hear that the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, while the unreasonable one keeps at the world with a hammer and sickle—strike that, crowbar—attempting to force it to adapt to himself. The coward is too quick to adapt; the hero has no time to adapt; and the traitor ends up adapting purely for the sake of time.”
Strong Women at the Forefront
Aiken in Check introduces a cadre of formidable female characters, including Nina, Elizabeth Hadley, Amy Kim, and Linda P Morse. Their courage, brilliance, quick-wittedness, and compassion serve as inspirations throughout the narrative. Even a minor character, Nina’s mother, exudes admirable strength of character.
A Tapestry of Real-World Events
The narrative seamlessly weaves in real-life events, offering glimpses into the political landscape of Castro’s Cuba and the tumultuous backdrop of the Vietnam War. The conclusion, a pivotal element in any series, delivers gratification by unraveling mysteries, resolving suspense, and affording closure to the trilogy.
Flashbacks and Narrative Flow
Though punctuated with flashbacks, the transitions can be abrupt and may require readers to invest some time in comprehension. Nevertheless, the plot remains riveting and action-packed, consistently piquing our curiosity and maintaining our engagement. For those in pursuit of an adrenaline rush, Aiken in Check promises an exhilarating experience.
Publisher, Genre, Print Length, ISBN
|Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Spy & Espionage
A Circuitous Tale of Deceit and Intrigue Aiken in Check by Michael Frost Beckner thrusts readers into a heart-pounding world of espionage, treachery, and clandestine operations. This indie spy novel serves up a narrative that, while intriguing, can prove somewhat perplexing for those seeking a straightforward plotline. A Cuban Prelude The story unfolds amidst the…