A revenge yarn and thriller that will have readers rolling their eyes -- when they're not on the edge of their seats. Assistant US Attorney Owen Gray is not a man to trifle with. As if toting a lawyer's briefcase weren't enough of a burden, Owen also carries a considerable amount of emotional baggage. A Vietnam vet, Owen was the Marine Corp's greatest sniper, who left his namesake signature -- a white origami star -- next to each of his 96 kills. While this remarkable proficiency earned many honors, Owen sought to put it all behind him in exchange for something resembling a normal life. However, 20 years later, the past comes back like a crimson bolt out of the blue when some recently acquitted federal defendants are plugged in plain view of Owen and dozens of TV cameras by a mysterious sniper. After a little investigation with his NYPD buddy, Detective Pete Coates, they find no gunman, just another mysterious calling card in a red bullet casing. Obviously, someone is trying to tell Owen something. That someone is Nikolai Trusov, the former Soviet Union's answer to White Star. A veteran of several wars, most notably in Afghanistan, Trusov has not fared nearly as well as Owen. He's still got a lot on his head, including a deep bullet wound to the forehead -- courtesy of a past brush with Owen back in Nam. Eventually, through a series of skillfully planned events, Trusov sets up a final showdown with Owen on the latter's rugged Idaho home turf. During this relentlessly brutal blood match, we learn a lot of things, including new uses for dying porcupines and dead hippies. But mostly, we learn that Owen can't put his past to rest until he ices the big Russkie lug. As implausible as this whole saga seems, it is carried by Thayer's (Ringer, 1988, etc.) streamlined prose and near-masterful control of detail and setting, which make this a particularly enjoyable and unpredictable read.