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LOVE AND TREASON by David Osborn



Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1982
Publisher: New American Library

Osborn, author of sturdy, grisly espionage and melodrama (The French Decision, Open Season), here tries to combine a traditional Washington spy-plot with heroinecentered romance/suspense--and the result is a lively, glossy, not-too-demanding diversion. The heroine: Alexis Volker, onetime TV-news star, now the happy wife of US Secretary of State Harold Volker (a younger, sexier Kissinger type). But is Alexis really happy? What is the ""strange, nameless fear"" that causes her to drink, to seek psychiatric help? Could it have to do with Harold's somewhat mysterious behavior in recent dealings with shady Portuguese diplomats? Well, while Alexis' worries remain subliminal, the FBI has concrete suspicions: it seems possible that Harold Volker is a KGB mole, secretly working for Soviet interests--a Communist coup in Portugal, for instance. Furthermore, there's sure to be another KGB mole (a guardian angel) on Harold's household staff. So the FBI blackmails Alexis' onetime lover Adrian James into spying on Alexis: while Harold is in Portugal, the Adrian/Alexis affair is resumed. But when Adrian is promptly murdered, Alexis begins to realize that something shady's going on: ""She had to find out for herself if Harold were guilty or not."" And once Alexis learns the Truth, she tries to save an unrepentant Harold from the FBI, has a showdown with the KGB assassin-mole, and finally must take the law into her own hands. Not very plausible, and Harold is too faceless a figure to serve as the Mystery-Husband à la du Maurier--but the pace is swift, the writing is serviceable, and there's just enough of both genres here (FBI/KGB espionage, damsel-in-distress fretting) to please a fairly wide audience.