A Marine intelligence officer tracks down the man who killed his family, a ruthless KGB agent.
Michael “Alex” Alexzinski is an intelligence officer in the Marines who distinguishes himself by predicting the infamous Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. He is also a brilliant interrogator, earmarked for a long and decorated career. But when Alex returns from the war, his dreams are shattered when his wife, Ann, and their child are murdered in a KGB operation. The leader of the assassination plot, Vladimir Koransky, manages to escape, but his cohorts do not, and they are tried for murder. Alex retires from the military and shiftlessly wanders through life as an “urban monk,” stricken with stultifying despair. American intelligence services rule out the possibility that foreign agents were responsible for the killings, but Alex discovers powerful reasons to suspect otherwise. Once the captured murderers escape conviction, Alex joins forces with a retired police detective to discover why his family was targeted and by whom. Meanwhile, Koransky plots to kill Alex and bring to fruition Project Red Saber, a secret mission that promises to tilt the scales of the intelligence war in favor of the Soviets for years to come. In an intersecting subplot, Blake Hazelton, an eccentric FBI agent, investigates Ann for her possible ties to a radical leftist group wanted for armed robbery and murder and becomes emotionally obsessed with her. Grant (The Alibi Witness, 2013) produces a complex story that braids together several plotlines artfully, told from the perspectives of Alex, Ann, Koransky, and Blake. The author’s grasp of the historical backdrop of the narrative is notable; in the first part of the story, a concise portrayal of the Tet Offensive and its political fallout is astutely limned. The pace of the plot sags sometimes—the author permits himself too many detours from the main storyline, ultimately adding distractions rather than affecting drama. The tale perhaps should have been trimmed to create a leaner version. But overall this novel skillfully combines rousing action with intelligent historical commentary.
A well-crafted Cold War thriller with multiple perspectives and cogent details.