The security services of several nations want to stop retired CIA hit man Kirk McGarvey before he can complete a lone-wolf mission to Moscow that could upset any number of geopolitical applecarts. Russia's economic woes and foreign policy setbacks are making the country's electorate restive enough to give the presidency to Yevgenni Tarankov, a charismatic Stalinist who campaigns throughout the motherland in an armored train. Gravely concerned that the ultranationalist could reverse the halting progress the troubled country has made toward creating an open, democratic society, Kremlin moderates recruit McGarvey to liquidate him. Now living in Paris with Jacqueline Belleau, an intelligence operative detailed to keep an eye on his movements, the hired gun reluctantly accepts the assignment. With valuable assistance from an expatriate computer whiz, he finds a way to slip in and out of Russia via the Baltic republics. Meanwhile, McGarvey's erstwhile masters learn what he's about and make a determined effort to stop him to preclude the disclosure that Tarankov earned a small fortune as a CIA informant during the 1970s. The CIA callously brings McGarvey's young daughter Liz into the game. A low-level translator at the agency, she jumps at the chance to do fieldwork and help locate her father. Liz soon tracks down Jacqueline (who has been outsmarted by her lover), and the two women head East. They remain several steps behind McGarvey (who's deduced that his target intends staging a May Day coup), and, on their way to Moscow, Liz is abducted by Tarankov's minions. In the nick, however, the quiet American foils the would-be usurper's plot and pulls Liz off the private railcar moments before government planes blast it to kingdom come. Another twisty thriller from the reliable Hagberg (High Flight, 1995, etc.)--and a welcome return for Cold War hardcase McGarvey, who's still a cunning devil when it comes to organizing solo operations across forbidden frontiers.