A selection of some of the many reviews of Len Deighton's books

Publishers use the reviewer soundbites on the back of a book to sum up - usually in one pithy sentence - the essence of the story and to persuade the reader that in purchasing the book, he or she is getting their hands on the latest work of a writer of real value.

They are an intensely personal response to a book by one reviewers, but they have an impact - an important book review can book sales in the weeks after publication. Increasingly, that function is now switching from the traditional newspaper book review pages to the online columns and blogs.

Here is a selection of reviewer comments over the years from dutjackets and taken directly from newspaper book reviewsabout Deighton's work. Naturally, publicists only picked the comments which will help persuade new readers to buy the book, but they Deighton has received consistently good reviews over the years:

Dustjacket quotes

'The poet of the spy far in front of other writers in the field they are not even in sight.'

Julian Symons, The Sunday Times

'Sheer consistent rightness, page after page.'

H.R.F. Keating, on Berlin Game, used on the cover of Mexico Set

'Sharp, witty and sour, like Raymond Chandler adapted to British gloom.'

A L Alvarez on Berlin Game, used on the cover of Mexico Set

'It seems impossible for Len Deighton to write a bad book.'

Sunday Telegraph, on the cover of Spy Hook

'I had a sneaking suspicion I was breaking the Official Secrets Act every time I opened this book.'

The Daily Express on Horse Under Water, used on the dustcover for Yesterday's Spy in 1975

'The narrative glides forward on rollers, and the scenes and the characters fit perfectly into place. The result is marvellous entertainment.'

Julian Symons, The Independent, on Spy Hook, on the cover of 1989's Spy Line

Selected newspaper reviews

'In Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy the master is at his peak. It is his special gift to show how ordinary people get drawn into the whirlpool of espionage and learn, with what reluctant heroism, to keep swimming.'

Michael Maxwell Scott, Daily Telegraph, 1975

'A massively and superbly mobilised tragedy of the machines which men creat to destroy themselves. Masterly and by far Deighton's best.'

Douglas Hurd, The Spectator, on Bomber, 1970

'Deighton can do all this because he looks upon aircraft as works of art as well as articles to serve a purpose. After the Futurists movement's embarrassing enthusiasm it became unfashionable to take an aesthetic interest in machines, but Deighton is independent enough to respond to them with his whole soul.'

Clive James reviewing Fighter in The Spectator, 1977

'Once again, Deighton has women an intricate and wholly satisfying plot, peopled it with convincing characters and event managed to give a new twist or two to the spy story. But then he is master of the form.'

Ross Thomas, The Washington Post, on Mexico Set, 1984

'Next, big soft girls will read Len Deighton aloud in jazz workshops.'

Life Magazine, 1966


New York Times review

Life Magazine

On the potential impact of Deighton's books:

'Next, big soft girls will read Len Deighton aloud in jazz workshops.'