The Renegade Spy

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By Mark O’Neill



A dangerous assassin named the Scorpion has been contracted to kill the Chancellor of Germany. Sophie Decker of German Intelligence is on the case.

Well, what more description do you want. It’s a relatively short book and that’s the plot. Simple, right? Sometimes, that’s all you need.


Scorpion: assassin

Vladimir Rostov: crime boss

Claudia Meyer: German Chancellor

Sophie Decker: German Intelligence

Wolfgang Schmitz: Security chief, dark hair

Hans Unterwald: Chief of Staff, large man, smokes cigars, deep voice, balding

Not much description of the main character, Sophie. Not much background on Scorpion. Sophie is a renegade who pushes the envelope.

My biggest issue here was the assassin himself. He comes across at the beginning as very professional, but then tends to falter and lose that professionalism. If that’s how the author wanted to develop him, fine, it didn’t quite work for me. I thought there would be more play between Decker and Schmitz, that they would be closer.


Again, Scorpion says too much that doesn’t seem in character for him. Sophie is straight forward in her conversations, and that’s fine, that’s the way she is and it seems to work for her.

The major problem with dialogue was all the punctuation errors. Missing commas before tag lines and if the dialogue ended with a quote, the period was outside the quote marks.


Long sentences during action scenes which draws out time and slows things. Shorter sentences would have moved the story along and the action scenes would have been more dramatic and tension filled.

A lot of she and he usage, especially within sentences. Not a real example but this is the type of writing I mean: She looked back where she could see she was far from the street.

Some POV problems within scenes. Capitalization errors.

The biggest problem, however was overwriting. “Later that evening, just before midnight…” Too wordy. Just before midnight is all that’s needed. We know it’s evening or night. The assassin shot someone and “…his head was jerked back.” No, his head jerked back.

Wordy sentences that could have been tightened.

The shot could be heard. This type of sentence was used a couple times at the beginning and the problem was that the POV was from Scorpion…who was doing the shooting. Of course he could hear the shot. Could be heard indicates that there might be something that would possibly interfere with him hearing. Yes, he was using a suppressor but still…

Problem: When Decker knows Scorpion is close, she has a few moments before he’s seen and she has to save Claudia. I would think the first instinct at the instant she knows Scorpion is near would be for her to draw her weapon and be ready. She doesn’t do it until after she hides with Claudia.

More overwriting. Decker and Claudia are hiding behind a couch. The reader knows this. No need to say that they might be seen if they run from behind the couch.

Overwriting and some weak writing took this down to:

Camouflage Belt