CLOSE QUARTERS by Adrian Magson

CLOSE QUARTERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rugged CIA contractor encounters enemies from all sides when he tries to rescue a State Department wonk held captive in Ukraine.

Busy freelance agent Marc Portman, aka The Watchman, is trailing hapless victim-to-be Arash Bagheri in Tehran when he gets an urgent call from Brian Callahan at the CIA front-office in New York. Callahan fears that State Department official Ed Travis, who's been gathering intel in Ukraine related to the Russians and various Mideast bad actors, can't make it out alive without assistance. Alternating between Portman's first-person narrative and a third-person perspective, Magson unfolds the story of his Ukrainian adventure. Upon landing at Donetsk, Portman meets his local contact, Ivkanoy, who unwisely tries to beat and rob him. Not long after, he runs afoul of a group of thugs led by a tough he calls "Rambo." Once he's dispatched them, he phones veteran operative Max for assistance. Stateside, things aren't running any more smoothly. Callahan's assistant, Lindsay, has to parry probing questions from Senate Intelligence Committee member Howard Benson, who clearly disdains the CIA. Portman arrives at Travis' hotel just in time to see him leave with four men in a military jeep. As corpses litter the path of pursuit, the powers at Langley wrestle with policy disputes and threats of espionage.

Prolific Magson's second round for Portman (The Watchman, 2014, etc.) delivers in the clinch, with gripping, authentic action scenes. The stateside segments are distinctly less memorable.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8504-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Severn House
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