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‘Argylle’ by Elly Conway Book Review: Read It Before Seeing The Movie!

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Get ready for a spy-thriller-treasure hunting adventure in Argylle by Elly Conway. Aubrey Argylle has been drifting ever since his parents died five years ago. But now he’s gotten the attention of the CIA, and they’ve recruited him for a special ops team. Argylle wasn’t quite sure what to expect working for the CIA, but this team isn’t it.

While Argylle struggles to find balance within his new team, someone is working against them from the inside. Team members are dying thanks to the mole. If it keeps up, there won’t be a team at all! And there’s always still the main mission, keeping a rich Russian psychopath from starting world war III. Argylle just isn’t quite sure how stealing some jewelry is going to do that…

[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Bantam for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Argylle contains some spoilers!]

Stuck in the jungle in Elly Conway’s Argylle

Sorry if that intro was a little confusing, but it turns out there’s a lot going on in Argylle. The main character, Argylle, has spent the last five years leading tourists through the jungle to catch a view of the famed “Golden Triangle”. Even Argylle isn’t really sure why he’s there anymore.

Five years ago, his parents died in a plane crash in the same area. Argylle was at school at the time, but he left to come and search the jungle for answers. Not just answers about what happened to his parents, but answers about who they were. Because it turns out they weren’t the textile traders they had always told Argylle they were. They were drug traffickers known all over the world.  Reconciling what he’s learned with what he thought he knew has brought Argylle to a standstill, unable to move forward.

Until the day he sees a plane crash in the jungle. Not just crash, but shot down. Argylle is a smart guy that realizes that if the crash didn’t kill the occupants, the drug gangs hidden in the jungle (the same ones that shot them down) would. So he makes a decision that changes his life. He goes to help them. Turns out the plane was full of DEA agents. Even though Argylle melts back into the jungle once they’re rescued, the CIA manages to track Argylle down. To his surprise, they offer him a job. To his even bigger surprise, he accepts.

Argylle by Elly Conway

A secret mission, or two, or three

The job is being a member of a super secret task force. After weeks of grueling training, Argylle is thinking of giving up. Not because he can’t handle the physical side, but because he can’t handle the social dynamics. The team recently lost a few members, some were killed during a mission, and one was the mole that caused that mission to go sideways. Obviously, trust is now very thin on the ground with the team, and Argylle draws a lot of ire because of who his parents are.

But before he can leave, the team is given a mission. They have to steal a bracelet from a Russian billionaire who is aiming for the presidency. In typical CIA fashion, the reason behind the theft is “need to know” and the team doesn’t seem to need to know. After the first mission, the team learns of a second bracelet that they need to steal. None of this seems like what Argylle signed up for, but he’s finally making friends with some of the team, so he just tries his best to make the missions successful.

Still, things don’t quite add up for Argylle. Then bodies start dropping.  And the Russians always seem to know what the team’s next move is. He smells a rat, again. Can he figure out why the bracelets are so important, and more importantly, who is selling the team out to the Russians, before he ends up dead? Argylle still doesn’t know if he’s cut out for being a spy, but he has to do the right thing. Even though that’s what got him into this mess in the first place. Stupid morals.

Argylle by Elly Conway is funny, smart, and exciting

In a rare twist of events, Argylle has been turned into a movie before it even hit bookstores. Usually the movie execs wait to see if a book is popular before they think about making it into a movie, but this one impressed enough that the movie is already shot and coming out next month! Now, part of the reason for that is probably that the book is written under a pen name hiding a celebrity. The real author is rumored to be one of the actors starting in the movie (top choice is Bryce Dallas Howard). 

But that doesn’t make this book a bad story that someone who thought they could write pushed through with their money and fame. It’s a solidly good adventure! Argylle is the slightly damaged but ultimately good guy that we all love to root for. The mystery (both the CIA’s mission and the double agent) is well planned and exciting. Conway took just enough from real history (the missing amber room, the Nazi gold train) to ground the story and make it believable, while still using her imagination to expand on the mystery. 

Enjoy this book before seeing Argylle the movie

Now it wasn’t a complete mystery, there were a few twists that I figured out and some things that “had” to happen in certain ways. But the story was still compelling and interesting. And there were enough unexpected moments and action to qualify it as a page turner. I’m very interested to see the movie when it comes out, especially because from what I understand, the movie takes a completely different spin. I will not discuss it here. It deserves, and needs, a whole article to talk about it, and I know my fellow Cosmic Circus writers will be covering it. 

So I am going to advocate reading the book first (of course) for everyone. Even if you plan on seeing the movie, it won’t ruin the movie for you and may even help you to understand what’s going on. If you don’t intend to see the movie, and enjoy reading and just want a great adventure, then definitely read Argylle by Elly Conway. 

My Rating: 9/10

Are you planning to read Argylle before the movie releases on February 2, 2024 ? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or on The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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Luna Gauthier

I've always been a bookworm and fantasy is my favortie genre. I never imagined (okay, I imagined but I didn't think) that I could get those books sent to me for just my opinion. Now I am a very happy bookworm! @Lunagauthier19 on Twitter

Luna Gauthier has 223 posts and counting. See all posts by Luna Gauthier