An absorbing tale of terrorism with a tantalizing what if at its core.

THE COVER WIFE

In late 1999, Paris-based CIA agent Claire Saylor goes to Hamburg to help penetrate an Al-Qaida group whose members include future 9/11 conspirators.

Claire, whose defiance of her superiors has made her something of a black sheep at the agency, is handled by Paul Bridger, with whom she had a brief affair during a botched mission in Berlin a decade ago. Her unpromising assignment is to pose as the wife of an American language scholar whose inflammatory new book asserts a key section of the Quran has been misinterpreted—that 72 white raisins, not 72 virgins, await jihadi martyrs. The dumpy professor believes his European book tour is being sponsored by a prestigious think tank and that Claire is there for his security, but the trip has been arranged by the CIA in hopes that his physical presence will draw radicals into the open. At the same time, young Moroccan émigré Mahmoud Yassin is busy ingratiating himself with radicals from a local mosque. Their leader, known as Amir, is Mohamed Atta. He says he has big plans for Mahmoud. But first the new recruit must prove his mettle by getting rid of Esma, the alluring, Westernized woman who threatens to interfere with plans to send her husband on a suicide mission. Instantly smitten with her, the skittish Mahmoud is caught between a rock and a tantalizing soft place. In withholding key details from the reader early on, Fesperman is cheating a bit. But his follow-up to the exceptional Safe Houses (2018) is a breezy, thoughtful thriller that avoids high drama in favor of quick and ultimately unsettling shots to the system.

An absorbing tale of terrorism with a tantalizing what if at its core.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-65783-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A smart summer escape.

PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

ABANDONED IN DEATH

June 2061 is a perilous time for women in a downtown Manhattan neighborhood who happen to resemble a violent kidnapper’s mother.

The killer doesn’t seem to be trying to hide anything except his own identity. Ten days after snatching bartender Lauren Elder from the street as she walked home, he leaves her body, carefully dressed and made up, with even the gash in her throat meticulously stitched up and beribboned, where it’s sure to be found quickly, along with the chilling label “bad mommy.” When Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody realize that Anna Hobe, a server at a nearby karaoke bar who disappeared a week ago under similar circumstances, was probably another victim of the same perp, the clock begins ticking down even before they learn that assistant marketing manager Mary Kate Covino has gone missing as well. Dallas, Peabody, and the helpers who’ve made Robb’s long-lived franchise even more distinctive than its futuristic setting race to find the women or identify their kidnapper before he reverts once again to the 5-year-old abandoned by his mother many years ago. The emphasis this time is on investigative procedure, forensics (beginning with the Party Girl perfume and the Toot Sweet moisturizer the murderer uses on the corpses of his victims), and the broader danger women in every generation face from men who just can’t grow up.

A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7821-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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