Varied topics in Harriet's reviews this time. These help show the diversity of topics writers use to keep us interested. Enjoy!
Putnam, Jul 21 2009, $26.95
It has been six months since Israeli Agent Gabriel Allon got Colonel Grigori Bulganov, Elena Kharkov and her children out of Russia, but not without a blood bath (see MOSCOW RULES). Allon as the Art restorer Alessio Vianelli is with his new wife Chiara on their honeymoon in Umbria while works on a piece for the Vatican. They are shocked to learn that Grigori, who was given asylum in Britain and saved Allon’s life in Moscow, has vanished. British intelligence believes he was a double agent who returned to Moscow; they hold Allon culpable for any leaks since he brought him to London vouching for the Russian. Gabriel discounts the theory of that the colonel redefected because if so Grigori should never had saved his life; instead he fears something more sinister occurred.
Gabriel assumes that Elena’s irate husband Ivan Kharkov, a billionaire arms dealer and close friend of the Russian President, is behind the kidnapping because he believes Grigori betrayed him professionally and personally. Kharkov is also after Allon, who exposed one of his sales which made him persona non-grata in what the rich Russian considers the civilized nations. The personal stakes are raised dramatically when Kharkov’s assassins abduct Chiara knowing Allon will come for her on their turf. Allon with the backing of Israel, American and Britain plans to rescue his spouse and kill her kidnapper.
Gabriel Allon has been and continues to be one of the most fascinating espionage agents for years in perhaps the best thriller series on the market in the past decade. Besides his being a powerhouse, the women in his circle like his wife also an agent are also competent and strong. The follow up to the super MOSCOW RULES is excellent as the saga of Bulganov takes a radical spin turning personal for Allon. Readers will not have seen that coming once they had escaped from Russia, but as always Daniel Silva provides another great entry that will elate fans who will also wonder how the author can top THE DEFECTOR. Harriet Klausner
Delacorte, Jul 2009, $26.00
Henry and Judith Codfield are driving home one night when they run into what he assumes was a deer; it turns out to be person hurt badly enough that they take the injured party to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital. Trauma center physician Dr. Sara Linton treats the patient; stabilizing her for surgery. She is shocked at the tortured body of Anna Lindsey whom she tries to save.
Meanwhile as the local police work the burbs for clues, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Detectives Will Trent looks for the site where the torture takes place. When he finds it he realizes another woman was there with the tortured woman. He finds the body of the second woman who was tortured before she committed suicide. Faith Mitchell and Will think the kidnapping of a woman outsider the supermarket is related to their own inquiry. A fourth female fitting the profile of the other three is also missing. Evidence points to the killer abducting the women in pairs and if they don’t find the missing two females within days they will be dead
Once again as in FRACTURED, Will and Faith prove they are a dedicated team who know together they perform much better than separately though they are total opposites; a sort of GBI yin and yang who complement one another by overcoming the other’s weaknesses. The current case of a deranged serial killer is not new, but refreshed by the increasingly frantic hunt by the GBI pair. Reader will enjoy UNDONE, as Karin Slaughter provides a tense police procedural in which the clock is ticking while the killer remains on a twisted schedule. Harriet Klausner
Kensington Aphrodisia, Jun 2009, $13.95
In 1807 Miranda Bond possesses a unique paranormal skill that few if anyone else can perform. She can return souls to dead people.
However, the Royal Society for the Investigation of Mysterious Phenomena looks at her gift with one member in particular believing she is evil and what she does is an abomination. Without receiving official permission this betrayer of the society’s code of ethics wants to kill her and sets out to do so. Acting like highwaymen members Zayan and Lukos kidnap the betrothed Miranda in an effort to keep her safe from a renegade associate. However, each is attracted to her and wants her as his; they vie with one another trying to win Miranda’s heart and soul; not an easy task when allegedly vampires do not have a soul and hide their heart.
The latest “Blood erotic Regency romantic fantasy is a terrific page turner that will hook the audience from the onset and never releases the reader from literary bondage until the final climax. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action in and out of the boudoir. Although numerous returns to previous heroes from BLOOD RED and BLOOD ROSE will confuse newcomers, Sharon page provides another winner with this deep suspense. Harriet Klausner