Vital Lies
November 4, 2021

Book Review

Vital Lies

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Vital Lies is a spy thriller written by Daniel Pyne and the second book in the Sentro series. Canadian spy Ryan Banks comes to ex-black ops specialist Aubrey Sentro for help in tracking down a Cold War spymaster.

It’s been thirty years since Aubrey’s captivity in East Berlin and she has recently retired. She doesn’t want to get involved, but when a mercenary targets her and her daughter Jennifer, the choice is made for her. Most of the novel is set in New Mexico, Germany, Cuba, England, and Spain.

Aubrey is a strong but flawed character. Due to her torture during the Cold War and multiple concussions, her memory has significant gaps and she suffers from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD. She has lied for many years to her children, now adults, about the details of her job, but has recently told them a sanitized version of it. Ryan is a younger spy that tends to plan in detail his next steps. Aubrey seems to go with the flow of events and react or act as necessary. Their interactions enhanced the story and made it stronger. The secondary characters had varying degrees of depth with Jennifer being the strongest.

A memorable opening scene immediately pulls any reader into the story. That scene is vivid and haunting. The narrative is suspenseful and has plenty of action as one would expect. Deception, betrayal, lies, espionage, greed, family, murder, and much more are integral themes that keep a reader on their toes. One thing that detracted from the flow of the novel was the continual jumping around in time and points of view (POV) during the first half or so of the story. While POVs continued to change later, it was more sequential in nature and flowed better for me.

This book has a clever plot with enough twists to keep a reader guessing. As they evolved, the plot facts were intriguing and occasionally unexpected. The suspense stays relatively high throughout the story. It’s intense and dramatic with converging plot lines bringing the story to an action filled conclusion. Will you be surprised by the ending? While the main plot points are all resolved, there are a few threads that could be used in the next book in the series.

Overall, this was a fascinating, gripping, and chilling story with compelling and complex characters. It will appeal to readers who enjoy espionage thrillers. It is definitely a worthwhile read. I am looking forward to Aubrey’s next adventure.

Thomas & Mercer and Daniel Pyne provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for February 15, 2022.

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