A Book Spy Review: ‘The Bourne Evolution’ by Brian Freeman


The Boure EvolutionThe hero you know, now rebooted for a new generation.

A mass shooting in Las Vegas has left dozens of innocent bystanders dead, including the lover of Jason Bourne—a highly-trained assassin working for Treadstone, a top-secret program buried deep within the United States government.

In the aftermath of the shooting, a year later, Bourne—still grieving and tormented by her loss—has become suspicious, convinced that Treadstone might have been behind the attack, and has subsequently quit the program and gone rogue.

In the present day, Abby Laurent, a Canadian journalist writing for an online magazine called The Fort, begins detailing the daring plans dreamed up by Sofia Ortiz. A freshman congresswoman from New York, Ortiz has made a name for herself through being vocal on social media (think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), leading a crusade against tech companies and their shady practices of data collection. Nobody has been more up to speed on the story than Abby, who is in attendance for a speech Ortiz is set to make in Washington Square Park, where it’s widely speculated that she will blow the whistle on a major hack that has left people’s personal information in danger, and introduce new legislation designed to companies in check.

However, before Ortiz can blow the horn on “the worst scandal in the history of Big Tech,” she’s shot through the throat, gunned down in broad daylight. Abby, of course, is there live-tweeting the whole thing, her Twitter feed providing a real-time update of the lead up to the shooting, as well as the moment the congresswoman was assassinated, and the ensuing panic that followed.

Bourne, meanwhile, is forced to go on the run when he’s framed for the murder, and in an effort to collect information and make sense of things, he reaches out to Abby Laurent. Eventually, the two team up, and together they uncover a connection to an anarchist group known as “Medusa,” which sets Bourne on a collision course with Miss Shirley, a fierce agent who is as ruthless as she is cunning. With the board set and the clock running, it’s up to Bourne to put the puzzle pieces together and expose the truth before it’s too late, but doing so will not be easy . . .

In his first addition to Ludlum’s popular franchise, Brian Freeman truly outdoes himself bringing Bourne back to life here, with his version of Jason falling somewhere between the character in Eric Van Lustbader’s books and Matt Damon’s on-screen portrayal. Younger, bolder, and as calculated as ever, Freeman’s Bourne should be a hit with diehard fans and newcomers to the series as well.

Much like how Daniel Craig’s portrayal as a younger James Bond in Casino Royale brought new excitement to the franchise for his fresh take on the role, Freeman’s Bourne brings a new physicality to the character that’s more consistent with the heroes of today, such as Mitch Rapp and Court Gentry. Likewise, the plot feels familiar—with shades of The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) sewn in there—but also new and, given recent headlines, even a tad timely. Moreover, the pacing is on point, the story develops quickly and hooks readers with a well-written opening, and there’s more than enough action to keep pace with other high-profile summer titles.

Best of all, The Bourne Evolution offers both the familiarity of an iconic character, while simultaneously introducing an exciting, updated, rebooted model that better fits today’s publishing world. It’s been a while since Jason Bourne sat atop the thriller genre, but with Brian Freeman at the helm, he retakes his seat among the best in the business.

Bottom line: Jason Bourne is back and better than ever. Do not miss this book.

Book Details

Author: Brian Freeman
Series: Jason Bourne
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525542590
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Real Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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