In the third installment of Kane’s (DeathByte, 2014, etc.) Spies Lie series, a covert operative–turned-fugitive must use her formidable intellect to figure out who betrayed her to terrorists.
Brilliant young economist and computer hacker Cassandra Sashakovich takes a job working for an unnamed U.S. intelligence agency, feeding false economic reports to terrorist organizations and hacking into their financial resources. However, when a mission in Riyadh goes terribly awry after her cover is blown, Cassie finds herself being burned by the agency and left for dead. Utilizing every shred of her considerable ingenuity, Cassie goes into hiding and starts a secret consulting firm, hoping she can dig deep enough into the world’s dirty laundry to figure out who might be the agency mole that gave her up to the terrorists in Riyadh. What she discovers shocks her and forever changes the way she sees international intelligence. Teaming up with rogue security analyst Lee Ainsley and an army of mercenaries, Cassie decides to get revenge—both on the terrorists who destroyed her life and the U.S. government that let them. Many of the events and characters overlap with those in Book 2 of the series by intrepid author Kane, though readers don’t need to be familiar with the previous installments to follow along. In Cassie, Kane has created a female protagonist who bears a striking resemblance to the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, from her extraordinary hacking talents and resourcefulness to her fluid sexuality and tendency to be targeted by evil men who underestimate her ability to survive. However, Cassie’s exceedingly stubborn attitude can be grating, while sex scenes and other highly personal moments often feel as though they’re being viewed through a male gaze: “Cassie felt his hand touch her robe, slip inside, and grope her breast, squeeze a nipple. When his other hand reached between her legs to stroke her, her legs grew unsteady.” Despite these weaknesses, the high stakes and dizzily paced action will hook genre fans from the first page.
Slightly subpar installment in a still solidly entertaining spy series.