#FridayReads, Aug. 24–Keith Thomson’s Once a Spy, an entertaining wise-cracking urban crime novel blended with an espionage yarn. Narrator Charlie Clark–an NYC cab driver and regular denizen of Aqueduct Racetrack–discovers that his father Drummond is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. What Charlie doesn’t know, at least until the story begins unfolding, is that Drummond, who ran an appliance store, operated the store as a CIA cover; in fact, he spent decades working undercover for the agency. Thing is, even with Drummond’s diminished memory, he still possesses a trove of secrets that agency bigwigs fear could end up in the wrong hands. It’s an intriguing premise, one I’ve never encountered before.
Also reading The Woman in 606, a long piece of narrative journalism recommended in the Longreads email this week. Seattle reporter Christopher Frizzelle tells this story that Longreads describes as “An inquiry into a neighbor’s suicide [that] leads a man to discover links between heavy marijuana use and psychosis among people who suffer from mental illnesses.”