The one-man army known as Watchman goes deep into Russia to protect a former KGB officer who plans to advocate for a friendlier stance toward the United States.
The story opens with a bang as Marc Portman, code name Watchman, rescues Katarina da Costa, the daughter of a tough Mexican judge, from kidnappers, leaving behind a trail of dead criminals. Scarcely has this successful one-man mission ended when Portman is called into a CIA front office for another, in which repeated shifts to the third person will counterpoint Watchman’s punchy first-person narrative. Steely State Department senior analyst Angela Thornbury dispatches Portman on behalf of former KGB officer Leonid Tzorekov, now a Russian banker based in London, who’s apparently been the target of several assassination attempts that may have been provoked by suspicions that he was trying to influence Putin. Meanwhile, in Russia, officials debate the loyalty of Tzorekov, who is reportedly “coming home.” As Watchman proceeds with the mission, Thornbury keeps second-guessing herself, constantly checking in with CIA handlers Sewell and Callahan about Watchman’s trustworthiness. Much speculation also centers on the allegiances of Tzorekov’s handsome bodyguard, Arkady Gurov, who “looks like a ballet dancer.” All of which sets the table for the nonstop action to come. A complicated ambush involves suspicious aircraft thwarted by inclement weather. Tzorekov and Gurov take refuge in a remote cabin with Watchman only a beat or two behind and various villains also in pursuit.
Prolific Magson’s third Watchman outing (Close Quarters, 2015, etc.) overstocks its supporting cast with paper tigers but delivers in its propulsive action sequences.