CONCERTO by Dennis Jones


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Those sinister hard-liners who are always threatening Russian liberalism in Jones' thrillers (Barbarossa Red, Winter Palace, etc.) are at it again, this time with a plot to kidnap Mikhail Gorbachev. The idea behind the KGB plot, code-named CONCERTO, is to seize Gorbachev from his US headquarters in Glen Cove, hide him out in a house in Sheepshead Bay, take advantage of his absence to stir up phony reformist demonstrations throughout the Warsaw Pact, and then rescue Gorbachev and return him to Moscow, where he'll be discredited and made to recant perestroika. After the snatch goes off like clockwork, the stage seems set for another round of Stalin trials--until stalwart, nondescript CIA agent Sean Brennan, one day short of quitting to settle down with even more nondescript Molly Carpenter, is dragged into the plot. Unlike FBI head Ranelagh, who's fighting him for jurisdiction over the case, Scan realizes that the evidence implicating Polish nationalists in the kidnapping is fake--and high-tails it to a meeting in the Warsaw sewers with Adam Kaminsky, a Soviet intelligence officer who wants his help in smashing CONCERTO. Despite some fine touches--the tensely effective opening chapter; the portrait of handsome, stupid President James Halliday being railroaded by competing advisors; the cosmic absurdity of Secretariat chairman Yuri Isayev's walk in the Moscow woods with Raisa Gorbachev--Jones piles climax on climax--Sean's rescue of Gorbachev; his reunion with Kaminsky (sewers again); Gorbachev's official moves against the KGB; the identification of a Soviet mole in Washington who takes Molly hostage--until you don't care who wins as long as it's over. Sadly dated by the recent rifts in the Warsaw Pact; a book mainly for nostalgic fanciers of Russia as an evil empire.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's