The Spy Who Hated Me! by Shaun Chapman is a rip-roaring race through a shadowy noir world of dames and danger, with a healthy dose of technological surrealism that gives this world a slightly unpredictable edge.
James Spillaney epitomizes the stereotype of private detectives, and the novel is an immersive and enjoyable dive into this dramatic style. The colloquial speech and affectations are constant, but within a few chapters, it becomes easier to read – and believe.
The high-speed nature of the novel keeps you interested, even if some of the plot points seem superfluous – a little too much about atmosphere than story. The descriptions are this book’s salvation, as they are clever and tongue-in-cheek, as though Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore took a stab at the private eye niche.
The noir voice is so thick at times that it veers towards mockery, but it makes up for this with Chapman’s clear veneration for the genre (though the author could use credit on the cover, rather than seeming like the book was written by the character). For readers who enjoy noir action along with witty prose, this book is packed with it. If you suspend your disbelief long enough, The Spy Who Hated Me! is a fast and funny read from start to finish.