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by David Lindsey

Pub Date: April 20th, 2004
ISBN: 0-446-52929-X

The one about the civvie who stands in for his CIA twin and earns the thanks of a grateful nation.

Paul Bern resurrects faces after terrible damage has been done to them. He’s a forensic artist, a good one. And a very quiet one: a widower with no family and a few good friends living contentedly in Austin, Texas. Not much in the tea leaves suggests the imminence of change, so when an attractive young woman carrying a hatbox-sized cardboard container shows up at his studio, Paul is only professionally curious. When she opens the container, he’s impressed mostly by the fact that the skull he sees inside is in better shape than those that usually come his way. But equanimity is about to take permanent leave from Paul. Work isn’t far along when he realizes, disconcertingly, that the face materializing on his drawing board is his own. Well, not quite. Soon enough, a gut-wrenching phone call confirms the idea already half-formed in his mind. Paul had known for years, of course, that he was adopted. What he hadn’t known, until the call from Vincente Mondragón, is that he has a twin. That is, had a twin, he’s told by Mondragón, since CIA super-agent Jude Lerner, Paul's brother, has been brutally murdered. This is a calamity of major proportions, not merely for the CIA (and rather incidentally for Paul) but for the country, so vital to US interests is the operation to which Jude was key. What Paul is asked to do next will leave him in a state of quivering surprise—a state unlikely to be shared by any seasoned reader.

Old pro Lindsey (The Rules of Silence, 2003, etc.) does his best to keep things twisty, but that well-traveled-road feeling is hard to shake.