The Coldest Warrior, Paul Vidich: Book Review

The Coldest Warrior by Paul Vidich is a short but sweet espionage, inspired by true events which will have you engaged from the get-go.

The plot:

In 1953, at the end of the Korean war, Dr. Charles Wilson, an army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years.

With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s death, and suddenly the case becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn’t get out.

Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. The closer Kyle gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk.

Think: a shorter John le Carré

The Coldest Warrior is a very, very fast-paced book. I read this in one sitting, and for a historical fiction, I find that rare. It was intriguing and didn’t have too many different paths/ stories for you to follow, so once I got sucked in (literally within 5 pages), I couldn’t get back out. It’s not too complicated and follows a clear structure which I am beyond grateful for.

Saying this, I could’ve read a good 40-50 more pages. It’s not like anything was left unanswered, but I found it particularly difficult to get attached to the characters – there were so many names which cropped up, typical of the espionage genre, and although you focused particularly on a couple, I didn’t feel high levels of emotion for them.

I loved the writing style – lots of talking to break up paragraphs of descriptive texts, the author transports you to a room, or makes you a fly on the wall in a conversation which you should definitely not be hearing.

It’s crazy how it’s inspired by true events, and in the preface, you are told which element is true and how when you will read on it’ll be fiction, but I was constantly thinking ‘I wondered if that happened?’ Once you’ve worked out why the book is titled The Coldest Warrior, it’s chills-worthy.

I’m definitely going to be reading more by Vidich – if he can get me this gripped to a historical fiction and not let me put the book down until it’s finished, he deserves my money. I realised after reading The Coldest Warrior that it was the third in a series, so I’m going back to the beginning soon!

A seriously excellent short espionage/ historical fiction – don’t miss it! Think: a shorter John le Carré.

The Coldest Warrior, Paul Vidich, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 252

Publisher: No Exit Press

Genre: Espionage/ Historical Fiction

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