Book Review: The Renegade Spy by Mark O’Neill

*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*

This time it’s a crime thriller, about a dangerous assassin. As usual – minor spoilers follow below.

Short plot: Decker tries to catch The Scorpion

Longer plot: We’re first introduced to The Scorpion. He’s planning another assasination, sitting in a hotel window with his sniper rifle, waiting for his target to leave a club. The Scorpion never fails, and he doesn’t this night either. When the hit is done, he plans a meeting with another contact, about his next contract.

We’re then introduced to Decker, the unruly Captain, who’s unorthodox methods – though they never fail to put the bad guys behind bars – also gets her in trouble with the Chief.

We then learn who The Scorpion’s new target is going to be, as he meets with his new client. But there’s a mole amongst this client’s bodyguards, and the police is warned. The Scorpion, taking huge pride in his success rate, and the following through of a contract, decides to carry on, even though the police now knows who’s about to be killed.

Obviously, Decker is put on the case to protect the target, and it becomes a race against time and a battle of wits, to see who gets out on top – Decker or The Scorpion.


This book reminded me a lot about the Bruce Willis film, The Jackal. I really liked it, the book I mean (and I loved the film as well).

It’s a shorter story, and I think I read it all in one evening. I’m usually a big fan of shorter books, because there’s less tendency to drag (though I do love to bring a massive hardback on vacation). I felt maybe this book was a bit too short however, it could have done with just a bit more back and forth between Decker and The Scorpion, and I thought it was over far too quickly. But I’m only saying that because I wanted more, I wanted to know more about Decker, The Scorpion, their stories, how  they came to be like they were. So I was very happy to see there’s a continuing story about Decker.

The book was easy to read and kept me turning pages. There a few editing/formatting errors, but they were easily overlooked. If I had to put my finger on more specific issue, I’d say the story could do with a bit more show and a bit less tell. This kind of swings round to what I said above, that I wanted to know more about Decker and The Scorpion, because I felt like I was fed a lot of info on them both in a very static way. It could be due to it being a shorter book, there’s not much room for all that backstory.

Regardless – if you’re looking for a 2-3 hour crime read, a kind of German version of The Jackal (1997) – look no further than The Renegade Spy by Mark O’Neill

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