The Coldest City, a graphic novel from ONI Press -
The year is 1989, and the world is holding its breath. After long decades of covert aggression, the Cold War is nearing its end. However, for the players in the never-ending spy game, it's business as usual...In fact, the stakes have just been raised astronomically. A British spook has been murdered, and gone along with him is a document so fearful that it not only threatens the lives of every spy in Berlin, but the security of every government running those spies there on both sides of the Berlin Wall. Enter Lorraine Broughton, an accomplished spy, but one with no experience with how the spy game works in Berlin. MI6 sends her to Berlin, deep cover, to retrieve the missing document before the CIA, DGSE, or the KGB get their hands on it and use it for their own covert agendas. Lorraine is an excellent spy, but in Berlin, she's a fish out of water. She's forced to work with an old-guard agent that MI6 is unsure of, while outsmarting enemy agents, creating allies, and avoiding death at every turn. Can Lorraine secure the document, or will she wind up as just another spook dead in the gutters of that cold, cold city?
From the creative mind of Antony Johnson comes this nail-biting espionage thriller, The Coldest City. In the illustrious company of great novels like, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Coldest City takes us back to those dark days when Democracy and Communism vied for world power, fighting each other through proxy wars, and through the daring and ingenuity of covert operatives, men and women that we call spies. Johnston gives us a pretty thrilling protagonist, Lorraine Broughton, a woman in a clandestine world run by powerful, dangerous men. Lorraine is brilliant, calculating and bold - she has to be if she expects to complete the mission and get out alive. Besides Lorraine Broughton, Johnston fills this story with so many interesting characters that are all a bit shady - just like the protagonist, the reader is never quite sure who to trust. Ulterior motives and questionable allegiances abound in this twisty, turny Cold War spy story from the very beginning to the gut-punch of an ending. In The Coldest City, Antony Johnston has made sure to keep the reader on their toes because absolutely nothing is exactly as it seems. This creates a palpable atmosphere of danger and doubt that had me totally absorbed from start to finish. Sam Hart absolutely rocked the art; his panel arrangements give the book a cinematic feel, and his pencils are sketchy and energetic yet very expressive. Done all in black and white, Hart's obscured, and sometimes unfinished faces along with his expert use of shadows definitely make this book seem like a throwback to those classic spy films I used to watch with my grandparents as a kid. If you love spy thrillers, The Coldest City is a real page-turner that you won't want to put down.
RATING: 10 out of 10.
FUN FACT 1 - On July 28, 2017, Charlize Theron and James McEvoy will star in Atomic Blonde, David Leitch's film based on Johnston's and Hart's graphic novel, The Coldest City. Here is the trailer:
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