THE HARGRAVE DECEPTION by E. Howard Hunt

THE HARGRAVE DECEPTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ex-CIA agent Dave Morgan--who went to prison for almost a year when he refused to give a Senate committee names of his civilian confederates abroad--is called out of Key West retirement by a high-paying assignment from loathsome CIA director Dobbs: Morgan is hired to go to Switzerland and be the escort home for Roger Hargrave, an old Agency chum of Morgan's who defected to Moscow and now wants to re-defect back to the U.S. In financial need (an institutionalized daughter, plus ex-wife and son), Morgan takes the mission and meets Hargrave at the Geneva airport, but moments after Hargrave whispers ""I was Dormouse--Always remember that,"" a supposed CIA assistant shoots Hargrave, and Morgan kills in self-defense. So now Morgan's on the run, changing identities, very angry (especially when he learns that his beloved mistress back in Key West has been assassinated), and determined to figure out what's going on: did the Soviets kill Hargrave to keep him from spilling some info--or was it someone at the CIA (maybe a KGB mole)? was Hargrave a real defector or a CIA mole--Dormouse--all along? To get the answers Morgan seeks out some retired CIA bigwigs in London (the bigwig there is murdered), Madrid, Berlin, and Mexico (the bigwig there is an alcoholic in squalor whom Morgan cleans up and dries out); then he catches the hired thug who murdered his mistress and tortures a few clues out of him. Finally, after more killings, some hand-to-hand combat, and much betrayal, the trail leads right back to the CIA director (no real surprise)--and, helped by new girlfriend Jill, Morgan learns the Truth, which involves internal CIA politics and the CIA's new pro-Soviet, anti-Chinese angle. . . . Hunt knows this territory better than most, of course: the web is nicely knotted, only occasionally over-talked and belabored; the action comes in good fierce spurts. And the only major reservations here--the unmistakable political stances, Morgan's unabashed heroic nobility and dash--will be downright bonuses for some old-fashioned espionage readers. No surprises, then, but a sturdy professional product.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1980
Publisher: Stein & Day