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"Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office" by Khalid Muhammad is a truly great spy thriller. Set in a modern day Pakistan it tells the chain of events set in motion by a terror attack in Karachi. Politicians, the army and the state secret service agency all have their own ideas as how to respond or retaliate for the offence. But it is our hero Khamal who goes in to do the work. Pakistan is a perfect setting for this gripping thriller full of action and suspense. The country's complex history and fractured political landscape provide an excellent ambience for the players of this novel. Gangs, Sheikhs, terrorists, politicians... A comparison to works by LeCarre has been made by a fellow reader and while I would hate to imply that there are obvious similarities I will say that the two authors have certainly the same admirable competence in strong plotting, vivid characterisation and atmospheric style. Pakistan and its people are often mis-represented in the Western world and I loved how the author managed to bring in a whole spectrum of characters, showing again a complex picture instead of resorting to simple stereotypes or clique; all the while also highlighting outside interests in the country and the internal struggles. While the story moves at a fast pace with compelling writing the author also raises many points about the country's current state of affairs. It shows a writer with a sharp and thoughtful mind who knows also about diplomacy and international politics - just like any good spy thriller writer should in my opinion. A good thriller with substance. Very recommendable.