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"The most fun spy thriller we've read in ages. The helter-skelter plot involv(es) a hapless revolutionary party, an alluring belly dancer, two hotels with almost exactly the same name - oh, and plans to assassinate the king. Payne mixes Franz Kafka's surreal absurdism with the ingenious plotting of Graham Greene's spy novels, then adds a hilarious layer of deadpan comedy."

Apple Books 


"Payne's stellar debut pokes hilarious fun at spy fiction through the exploits of a fishmonger named Orlov. The blend of action and picaresque buffoonery flatteringly calls Conan Doyle's Brigadier Gerard tales to mind. This auspicious debut announces a bright new voice in comic suspense."

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) 


"A stunning debut! A page turning, down-the-rabbit-hole delight, told with equal measure of wit and suspense. A timeless classic for our current moment; a paranoid and comic thriller with a surprise on every page." 

Don Scardino, Producer/Director, 30 Rock, New Amsterdam


"A triumph—and an answer to that age-old question of what would have happened had Gogol, Kafka and G. K. Chesterton collaborated on a thriller. A timeless work which will, I fear, be forever timely." 

Dixe Wills, Author of Places to Hide and New World Order


"Highly engaging, and written with an engaging lightness of touch, Citizen Orlov marks the debut of a comic novelist to watch for the future." 

Dr. Adam Lively, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Middlesex University