Win a Family Weekend Break with Lovereading and VisitWiltshire - click here for details...

tudor queens series debuts of the month twitter
Search our site
The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft Read the opening extract of the brand new Elle Croft book before its publication on 25/01/2018

Black Bear by Aly Monroe

Lovereading view...

A slow building, intelligent thriller of mind altering and controlling drugs. It is 1947 and British agent Peter Cotton is in New York helping with the building of the United Nations. He becomes a victim of the drug and most of the novel is about his recovery, the reasons behind the attack and his relationship with American intelligence. A fascinating period of espionage told with gentle precision and perhaps a little confusing, this is no action thriller but a leisurely read worth the effort.


Black Bear by Aly Monroe

From the author of ICELIGHT, winner of the 2012 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, BLACK BEAR is the fourth in the critically acclaimed Peter Cotton series following the fortunes of British spy Peter Cotton as he navigates the treacherous uncertainties of the post-war world. For all fans of John le Carre, Robert Harris, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. 'Confirms Aly Monroe's genius for creating tension...' Daily Telegraph Sent to Manhattan as part of the British effort to build intelligence into the new United Nations Organisation 'from the foundations up', Agent Peter Cotton wakes up in the Ogden Clinic on East 76th Street, a private facility reserved for very special patients and veterans. He is told he was found badly bruised, slumped in a doorway, and that he had been injected with at least three 'truth-drugs'. He is lucky to be alive. Plagued by vertigo, colour blindness and tunnel vision, and unable to be certain what is real and what hallucinatory, Cotton must piece together what has happened to him, find out who is responsible and why. What he discovers is even more unsettling. His biggest uncertainty? Why he has been allowed to live.


'Confirms Aly Monroe's genius for creating such tension that, while nothing much happens, you don't want things to stop not happening. She's commercial writing's rarest beast - a gloriously defiant individualist'
Daily Telegraph

'Monroe is terrific at evoking this world'

'Monroe creates the atmosphere of the time brilliantly ... an original novel and its people and places are so well described that I was gripped from start to finish'
Literary Review

'A wonderfully atmospheric book'
Euro Crime

'Once again, Monroe's research is spot on and she paints her supporting cast with so many shades of grey that it makes a John Le Carre novel look positively straightforward. This is wonderfully atmospheric'
Shots Magazine

'Dodgy underhand dealings, political manipulations as well as a labyrinth of twists and turns... Definitely an author to watch'
Falcata Times

'Riveting stuff'
The Times

'The stately pace and avuncular tone belie Monroe's capacity to generate tension and momentum from the most innocuous of incidents, and the political context deliberately foreshadows more famous incidents in the cold-war years ahead, as former allies - Britain, Russia and the US - jockey for position in the post-war years'
Irish Times

'The Peter Cotton series is getting better and better and in Icelight the internecine squabbling of the security services is a prequel to the real-life problems during the Cold Ware. I'm really looking forward to the next book'
Crime Scraps

'The Peter Cotton series by Aly Monroe is proving to be absolutely unmissable'
Good Book Guide Praise for the Peter Cotton series:

'Splendid ... enlightening and engaging'
The Times

'Clever and fascinating ... Reminded me of Graham Greene'

'Impressive ... The next can't come too soon'
Financial Times

'A natural storyteller ... a cracking atmosphere'
Mail on Sunday

'it is easy to see why Aly Monroe is fast establishing a large fan base'
www Ian Fleming fans reading Black Bear might find themselves recalling the opening section of Thunderball and James Bond's retreat to a health spa, but where Bond snapped back into action almost immediately, Cotton's recovery from his brutalising experience forms the framework for the entire novel. This is in part due to the quality of realism that Monroe brings to her storytelling ... Monroe's gorgeous prose and psychological trauma of a mind unsure that it can trust its own thoughts all add up to a delicately nuanced character sturdy Irish Times Atmospheric, engrossing and intelligently written, Black Bear tantalises from the very first page until its conclusion Milo's Rambles His story is a tense atmospheric narrative where subtle innuendo, smart conversation, superb character profiles and relationships are more important than the action ... Black Bear, and there are two of them in the story, is a fine addition to a series which has got me hooked Eurocrime

About the Author

Aly Monroe

Aly Monroe was born and educated in England. She has lived in several countries – mostly Spain - and speaks several languages. She is married and has three children. The Maze of Cadiz, her first novel, is part of a projected series that begins during the Second World War and follows the process of decolonisation and the aftermath of Empire.

Maxim Jakubowski's view on Aly Monroe...

Her debut novel THE MAZE OF CADIZ was showered with praise by reviewers, plunging the reader into the murky world of espionage in the immediate aftermath of WW2 with British spy Peter Cotton.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

7th November 2013


Aly Monroe

More books by Aly Monroe
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...


John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


480 pages


eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense
Historical fiction



They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!