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Full Name: John Ranger
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agent

Creator: Michael Oldham
Time Span: 2012 - 2017


John Ranger is an agent with MI-6.

That is technically correct, as is:

John Ranger is a music teacher.

The latter definitely does not sound like it belongs in this collection but because of circumstances far beyond his ability to control, Ranger moves from that prosaic occupation to the exciting and not-as-safe world of the former.

It starts with a return of an old love of nearly ten years and almost wife. She had nothing to say because when Ranger came home to his cottage, which she had never visited before, from a early morning walk, she was there. And dead.

Then the police show, prompted by an anonymous call. They are curious about the slain woman, victim of a throat slashing, in the kitchen. Ranger had no answers. They were also quite interested in the dead man in the back yard. Ranger had not seen him yet so again, no answers.

That got him a night in jail to think up better responses. And then the man from the government came and led Ranger away to a meeting his a higher-up who offered Ranger a chance to work for MI-6 as opposed to sitting in a jail cell.

Prior to that very fateful day, Ranger had been a music teacher. He enjoyed it well enough although many of his teenage pupils had been unruly, unpleasant, or worse yet, untalented, but by and large it was the line of work he chose and would have liked to continue.

Ranger is in his early 40s when we first meet him. He has thinning hair and is hardly the picture of physical fitness but he does exercise and is not a total wreck. He is living alone in a cottage in Dorset to get away from the city and the memories of the decade he lived and loved with Madeleine before she suddenly said she had an offer of a job in Sydney and was taking it and he needn't bother packing to go with her. A year had passed since her departure and the pain still lingered.

And then she shows up dead and his life is forever changed.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2012
Last Appearance:2017

1 Vladimir's Daughter Vladimir's Daughter
Written by Michael Oldham
Copyright: 2012

Finding someone you cared about dead in your kitchen with a throat slit is traumatizing. The dead man in the back yard with a bullet hole in his head is bad, too. That is what John Ranger, a music teacher, discovered one day. Then he is suspected of murder which is not good. Being offered a way out by MI-6 is not really a good thing, either, as Ranger discovers.
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2 Babushka's Children Babushka's Children
Written by Michael Oldham
Copyright: 2012

Having had enough of cloak and dagger work, John Ranger wants out of MI-6 but his boss eventually persuades him to return to Russia to help root out the mole in the Department who is after Natasha, the woman Ranger saved.
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3 Natasha Natasha
Written by Michael Oldham
Copyright: 2017

Most people thrown out of Russia as persona non grata would stay out but John Ranger has to sneak back in to rescue his former lover, Natasha. That is just the beginning of their troubles, though, when they find a mission involving MI-6, the CIA, FSB, and the Russian Mafia.
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I enjoyed quite a bit the author's first series about Tregay & Lefévre so I expected I would like the second one and boy, was I right. The writing style in the two series are similar but with the Ranger tales, the reader gets far closer to the character due to the first-person perspective and I enjoyed getting to know Ranger even as he slowly got to know the spy craft.

The man has far too good a luck with women. Okay, that is just jealousy on my part and in the first book the women with whom he got "close", well, one died, one seemed to be using him, and one broke up with him. Still, that is not bad for a music teacher.

I hope we get more from the author on both series but if he has to pick one (he doesn't), I would go with Ranger.


My Grade: A-


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