Arthur Drams works for a secret government security agency, but all he really does is spend his days in a cubical writing reports no one reads. After getting another “lateral promotion” by a supervisor who barely remembers his name, it’s suggested that Arthur try to ‘make friends’ and ‘get noticed’ in order to move up the ladder. It’s like high school all over again: his attempts to be friendly come across as awkward and creepy, and no one wants to sit at the same table with him at lunch. In a last-ditch attempt to be seen as friendly and outgoing, he decides to make friends with The Alien, aka Agent Martin Grove, known for his strange eating habits, unusual reading choices, and the fact that no one has spoken to him in three years.
Starting with a short, surprisingly interesting conversation on sociology books, Arthur slowly begins to chip away at The Alien’s walls using home-cooked meals to lure the secretive agent out of his abrasive shell. Except Martin just might be something closer to an actual secret agent than paper-pusher Arthur is, and it might be more than hearts at risk when something more than friendship begins to develop.
I hadn’t actually planned to review this on the blog when I picked it up. This was supposed to be an “in-between” book before I read another review copy. Not sure if it’s only me but sometimes I need books in between where I can just read, and not try to remember everything I want to mention in my review.
But then this wasn’t just the nice read I expected: no this one went straight for the heart. If the author ever decides to put this out in paperback or audio I will be the first in line to buy it, because oh my god you guys I *loooove* this book. “Love” can’t encompass all the feelings I have for it – there needs to be a bigger word. Something to voice how special this book is to me.
Both characters are quiet and prefer to keep to themselves. Arthur so much that when he asks for a promotion his supervisor has to look at the photo in his file to know who he is. Arthur gets his work done, but he’s not a big fan of socializing and is uncomfortable meeting new people. So when he’s moved to a different floor – same position though – he vows that the next time he will be remembered.
During his lunch breaks he has time to meet and get to know his coworkers and one day he shares the table with Martin. Martin doesn’t speak a word and only reads his book. Over time they bond over the books and food until out of friendship becomes love – to me there is nothing better than that. I loved their interactions and was looking forward to Arthur’s lunch breaks at least as much as he was.
Martin stays an enigma for the better part of the book, only slowly revealing things to Arthur – and the reader as well. While I think I have a pretty good idea of who Martin is, I feel like the author could easily add a sequel and it wouldn’t feel redundant.
This book probably has the most beautiful “I love you” scene I’ve ever read without using the actual words. I think my heart might have burst a bit because of happiness and love when I read that. His Quiet Agent is such a gentle, beautifully awkward and lovely story; it didn’t let me go long after I had read the last page.
There is so much to the story I can’t tell you because I don’t want to spoil it all – it’s truly, truly special. I adored the way both of them got to know each other, how Arthur slowly but surely weaseled his way into Martin’s heart – Martin who is even more quiet and reserved than Arthur. Both characters are ace-spec. Arthur ID’s as demisexual on page; and while Martin’s sexuality is never discussed on page I assume he’s somewhere on the asexual spectrum as well. I can’t tell you how much I loved to see two asexual characters in a romance.
I really I loved how they both fell in love with each other. So pure and innocent and always that bit of awkwardness that’s just so human and made them all the more endearing. (Sorry, I’ve officially entered the stage “gushing” in this review. Although I’m not really sorry. I really hope that whoever you are reading this, decide to pick this book up.)
Despite the short length, this was a really well-rounded story with awesomely fleshed-out characters and side characters.
Of course it focuses on Arthur and Martin, but we also get a good (or maybe not so good ;)) impression of Arthur’s family. This made me connect with Arthur even more because, even though my family is not like that (thankfully), our relationships are probably just as complicted. I really enjoyed to see more of his background. I think it was quite helpful to get a better feel for who Arthur is and what shaped him.
At the end there are still unanswered questions, mostly things we’ll probably never find out given the nature of their jobs as secret agents for an unknown agency, but I really hope that this was not the last we’ve seen of these two. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel!
His Quiet Agent is one of those books I wish everyone would read and really, this review is not enough to tell you how much I adore this book. It was everything I needed and I was sad when it was over, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Martin and Arthur – though I probably never would.
Ada Maria Soto is a born and raised Californian, Mexican-American/WASP, currently living as an expat in the South Pacific. Writing is her day job for the two days a week her child is in preschool. The other five days a week her child is her day job.
A psychologist once told her she has a fantasy prone personality, but since she’s a writer that’s not a bad thing. She has dysgraphia and phonological dyslexia but doesn’t let exciting spelling slow her down.
She is a sports fan dedicated to the Oakland A’s, San Jose Sharks, Auckland Blues, USA Eagles, New Zealand All Blacks, and New Zealand Black Caps.