by Jonathan Payne
September 4-29, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Not every fishmonger can be a secret agent.
Journey to an unnamed mountainous country in central Europe at the end of the Great War. Enter Citizen Orlov, a simple fishmonger and an honest, upright citizen, who answers a phone call meant for a secret agent and stumbles into a hidden world of espionage and secrecy. Recruited by the Ministry of Security, he is sent on assignment to safeguard the king.
But Orlov soon discovers that his ministry handler, the alluring femme fatale Agent Zelle, is planning not to protect the king but to assassinate him. Caught in a web of plot and counterplot, confusing loyalties, and explosive betrayals, Orlov finds himself on trial for murder. Given the opportunity to clear his name, he finds that the lives of his friends, mother, and fellow citizens hang in the balance.
Praise for CITIZEN ORLOV:
"A triumph—and an answer to that age-old question of what would have happened had Gogol, Kafka and G. K. Chesterton collaborated on a thriller. A timeless work which will, I fear, be forever timely."
~ Dixe Wills, author of Places to Hide and New World Order
"Jonathan Payne's Citizen Orlov is a stunning debut! A page turning, down-the-rabbit-hole delight, told with equal measure of wit and suspense. A timeless classic for our current moment; a paranoid and comic thriller with a surprise on every page. I loved it!"
~ Don Scardino, Producer/Director, 30 Rock, New Amsterdam
"Highly engaging, and written with an engaging lightness of touch, Citizen Orlov marks the debut of a comic novelist to watch for the future."
~ Dr. Adam Lively, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing & Programme Leader, MA Novel Writing, Middlesex University
"The blend of action and picaresque buffoonery flatteringly calls Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard tales to mind, and Payne pulls off a genuinely surprising conclusion. This auspicious debut announces a bright new voice in comic suspense."
~ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
[An] odyssey that seems part Kafka, part ‘Alice in Wonderland.
~ Wall Street Journal
Genre: Espionage Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: May 2023
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780744309010 (ISBN10: 0744309018)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books
Read an excerpt:
Part political thriller, part humor, 100% entertainment.
Citizen Orlov is the unique new humorous political thriller by debut author Jonathan Payne, and I was entertained from the first to the final page. Frankly, this book is not in my wheelhouse, but I was thoroughly invested and didn't want to put it down.
The main character, simply identified as Orlov, seems to be one of the least complicated of souls. He is earnest in what he does and appears happy and content with his job as a fishmonger, perhaps occasionally annoyed by the political discourse of his friend and boss, Vanev. He's loyal to his unnamed fictional Central European country, and he loves his mother, who still lives in his childhood home in a small village some distance from the capital city. He is helpful to a fault, and his life changes forever as a result of trying to be helpful when he answers a fatefully ringing telephone. I loved that throughout all the complications and dangerous situations he found himself in, he remained true to his basic caring nature, even as he was forced to make some terrible choices and, eventually, fight fire with fire.
The intricacies and inner workings of the fictional governmental agencies are, at times, both sad and humorous, and after reading the author's bio, may also be frightening. The separate agendas the agents Zelle, Molnar, and Kosek held had my imagination working overtime and on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Orlov's and Vanev's experiences in custody and with their justice system had me turning pages non-stop; I had connected to these characters and was compelled to learn their fates.
With its engaging characters and unique and surprising story, I highly recommend CITIZEN ORLOV to readers of political thrillers looking for a fresh and lighter approach to the genre.
Jonathan Payne is a British-American writer based outside Washington, D.C. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Novel Writing from Middlesex University, London. His short fiction has been featured at the North London Story Festival and in magazines including Turnpike, Twist in Time and Fiction Kitchen Berlin. Before moving to the United States, he worked for the British government on matters of national security. When not writing or reading, he can be found in the boxing gym.
Catch Up With Jonathan Payne:
BookBub - @jon7payne
Instagram - @jon7payne
Twitter - @jon7payne
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