An elite military officer has to work his way through the Russian crime scene to rescue his sister and figure out how he fits into the larger scheme.
Though he’s known as the assistant defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, Maj. Kit Bennings is basically a spy. What most of his colleagues don’t know is that Kit is working undercover. It’s his American colleagues he’s spying on as he tries to find a mole who’s been leaking secrets to the Russians. Back home, Kit’s younger sister, Staci, keeps an eye on their mother, who hasn’t been the same since her husband and son died in a plane crash four years earlier. Despite his eagerness to get back, Kit fits in a meeting with crime boss Viktor Popov before leaving Russia. Viktor has an interesting proposal for Kit: cash in exchange for marrying his niece, Yulana. Kit doesn’t care if Yulana is after citizenship or something more. He’s not the kind of guy to sell out his government. But Viktor, who won’t take no for an answer, orders the kidnapping of Staci to help convince Kit. Now Kit has to go rogue to find his sister while he’s saddled with a new wife and her unknown motives. Luckily, Kit has a dependable crew of talented Army, SEAL and other experts willing to stick their necks out to help him find both his sister and the true reason for Viktor’s insistence on saddling him with a Russian bride.
Outside his familiar turf of New Orleans (Burnt Black, 2013, etc.), Kovacs focuses less on local history and more on quick, entertaining action. If he fails to develop very complex characters, that’s a tradeoff for introducing so many specialists in what’s clearly intended as the first of a series.