Doublespeak: A Novel

Doublespeak: A Novel

The followup to the literate and action-packed historical thriller Speakeasy, Doublespeak finds plucky protagonist Lena on a journey back to her past. Lieutenant Lena Stillman has been left, nearly alone, on her code-breaking mission in remote Alaska. World War II has been over for a month, but due to crimes committed a lifetime ago, Lena is still under the control of the...

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Title:Doublespeak: A Novel
Author:Alisa Smith
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Edition Language:English

Doublespeak: A Novel Reviews

  • nikkia neil

    I was given a ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.

    Love this change of location to the far East. This is a fast paced, dangerous, exciting, and provocative novel.

  • Jessica

    Thanks to St Martin's Press for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review

    It’s no secret that I love historical fiction and I love mysteries, well when you combine them then it’s a surefire hit for me. DOUBLESPEAK by Alisa Smith hit the elements from both genres that I love. This is book two in the series, but I think this read just fine as a standalone because I never felt lost. I do, however, want to go back and pick up SPEAKEASY because I’ve heard nothing but incredible things.

    We

    Thanks to St Martin's Press for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review

    It’s no secret that I love historical fiction and I love mysteries, well when you combine them then it’s a surefire hit for me. DOUBLESPEAK by Alisa Smith hit the elements from both genres that I love. This is book two in the series, but I think this read just fine as a standalone because I never felt lost. I do, however, want to go back and pick up SPEAKEASY because I’ve heard nothing but incredible things.

    We follow Lieutenant Lena Stillman from her code-breaking mission in Alaska to her recuse mission in Bangkok. She is reunited with pieces of her past and everyone’s alliances come into question as the story progresses. Smith does a great job setting the post-WWII scene for us and illustrating the tensions and adjustments to life now that the war has ended. We get such a wide range of scenery thrown at us and none of it feels disjointed. We are dropped in Alaska with Lena and then transported to exotic Bangkok as she embarks on her next mission.

    This historical fiction/mystery novel also has the espionage and spy element that I love. I think the pacing stayed consistent and quick, the characterization was solid and I felt like I got to know Lena without having anything lost in translation (not having read book one), and there was plenty of action. Who can she trust? Who has ulterior motives? Who is good and who is bad? So many questions and I think Smith seamlessly wove this complex plot.

    Overall, if you’re looking for a solid historical fiction meets espionage/spy mystery, then this is the book for you! Off to pick up book one in the Lena Stillman series and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from Smith.

  • Seema Rao

    Thrilling ~ Perplexing ~ Wraught

    tl;dr: Spies don't get breaks in peace time.

    Doublespeak follows the path of a code-breaker Lena Stillman into post-World War II South East Asia. The writing is more John Le Carre than Ian Fleming with a matter-of-factness. While this is the second book in the series, it was my first. I didn't necesarily feel lost. I did wonder for much of the book where the truth lay, and often wondered if the protagonist was reliable. But, the reader's feeling of uncertainty mig

    Thrilling ~ Perplexing ~ Wraught

    tl;dr: Spies don't get breaks in peace time.

    Doublespeak follows the path of a code-breaker Lena Stillman into post-World War II South East Asia. The writing is more John Le Carre than Ian Fleming with a matter-of-factness. While this is the second book in the series, it was my first. I didn't necesarily feel lost. I did wonder for much of the book where the truth lay, and often wondered if the protagonist was reliable. But, the reader's feeling of uncertainty might be due to the genre. The book is full of people making poor choices for country and personal profit. In all, like many spy thrillers, these sorts of books remind me why subterfuge isn't my bag. In terms of a book, this was a well-made spy thriller/ mystery with a strong female protagonist. I enjoyed the read.

    TW: There are plenty of 40s-style references to natives, who are being treated as you might imagine.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Seema Rao Write :

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  • Kathleen Gray

    An intriguing and interesting thriller. I do wish I'd read the first novel because it likely would have made entering Lena's world easier. A former gangster turned Navy codebreaker during WWII, this outing sees her attempting to rescue Link, who she wronged. He's in "Siam," which was a real hotbed of espionage during WWII and immediately after. Those familiar with that scene will wonder who several of the characters are really. Everyone's motives are suspect and Lena doesn't trust easily, which

    An intriguing and interesting thriller. I do wish I'd read the first novel because it likely would have made entering Lena's world easier. A former gangster turned Navy codebreaker during WWII, this outing sees her attempting to rescue Link, who she wronged. He's in "Siam," which was a real hotbed of espionage during WWII and immediately after. Those familiar with that scene will wonder who several of the characters are really. Everyone's motives are suspect and Lena doesn't trust easily, which is good. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

  • Heather Bennett

    Doublespeak is the follow-up to Speakeasy and it did not disappoint. Well written and great characters. The historical detail makes you feel like you are part of the book.

  • Virginia Williams

    Written in noir style, the novel is dark and intriguing using multiple first persons. Lieutenant Lena Stillman is an ex-bank robber and ended up in Shemya, Alaska at the end of WW2 as a code-breaker. Years before, Lena was part of a criminal element that was called the Clockwork Gang. There were four in the gang. Bill Bagley was the brains and two others besides herself, Byron Godfrey and Link Hughes. Bill settled in Siam and secured a lucrative enterprise. Lena feels responsible for what happen

    Written in noir style, the novel is dark and intriguing using multiple first persons. Lieutenant Lena Stillman is an ex-bank robber and ended up in Shemya, Alaska at the end of WW2 as a code-breaker. Years before, Lena was part of a criminal element that was called the Clockwork Gang. There were four in the gang. Bill Bagley was the brains and two others besides herself, Byron Godfrey and Link Hughes. Bill settled in Siam and secured a lucrative enterprise. Lena feels responsible for what happened to Link during the war. And now, years after they scattered, she receives an astounding message from Bill regarding Link. Regardless of her feelings for Bill, she absolutely MUST travel to Siam to see Link and square herself with him. And she is not the only one from the old gang receiving an urgent message.

    First, I enjoyed the author's sagacity when it came to matters of spying, foreign lands, pre, during, and post-war politics, and being "the criminal used for good" (they have the expertise a by-the-book grunt wouldn't). I had not read Book 1, but felt it could function as a standalone as we certainly get the person that is Bill/William, as well as the other main characters.

    Several chapters evolve before you begin to get a sense of who is speaking and then you must discern if they are a reliable narrator. The timeline is not a lengthy one, but there is a lot to take in. The dialogue between main characters and those they are dealing with feel natural. The storyline is well-plotted and builds tension as each of the individuals share their perspective and pressure escalates. The people, the smells, the overcrowded and unhealthy conditions bring forth an unwelcome conjuring of sights you can't unsee. And still, it takes a while before the entire mission becomes clear.

    I received this ebook from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. While this novel may not be for everyone, if you are looking for something different, enjoy historical novels, and spy action-adventure, particularly with a single-minded capable female protagonist, you'll enjoy this one.

    See my full review at

  • Sherri Lewis

    *** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review

    This is the follow-up book to Speakeasy, and it begins with Lela code-breaking in the Alaskan wilderness right after the end of World War II. Lena gets a shocking message from someone she thought to be dead, giving Link's location as Siam. What follows is a tale of intrigue and a possible shot at Redemption for Lena.

    I enjoyed Speakeasy, so I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, I was never really able to ge

    *** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review

    This is the follow-up book to Speakeasy, and it begins with Lela code-breaking in the Alaskan wilderness right after the end of World War II. Lena gets a shocking message from someone she thought to be dead, giving Link's location as Siam. What follows is a tale of intrigue and a possible shot at Redemption for Lena.

    I enjoyed Speakeasy, so I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, I was never really able to get into it. I don't know if it was just too much "spy" and "action" oriented for me, since that isn't the type of book I usually enjoy, or what. The writing was well-done however, and someone who does enjoy a good spy thriller would definitely enjoy this.

  • Carol Custer

    This was more of a 'spy' novel than I usually read and I'm afraid it didn't hold my interest very well. Still, the writing is good and the characters were well-defined. Just not my favorite kind of book

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!

  • Torie

    I couldn't get into this book!

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