A better-than-average spy contrivance--speedily revolving around Maurice Cotton, a former top CIA agent, who, despite a nasty case of partial amnesia, wants to get back in the espionage game after five years in a mental hospital. His first assignment is a tame one as a courier in Mexico City, but he's in danger nonetheless; not because of his assignment, but because his old colleague and chum Julius Emroch, who defected to the KGB, wants Cotton to retire. . . or else. A near-fatal encounter in Mexico gets Cotton transferred to Paris, where he continues to try to remember the past, specifically his last pre-breakdown mission: a girl (did he love her?) was somehow killed (by Emroch?). And then the Mexican assassin reappears--in the company of Cotton's CIA chief!--followed by yet another reassignment: Rome, where Cotton receives more threatening messages from Emroch, falls for the daughter of the Turkish tycoon who is Emroch's doomed emissary, and murders an innocent bystander while fleeing the city. Where to? To Belgrade, where a final showdown clears up that foggy memory with a deft, relatively believable twist. Working mostly in crisp, flavorful dialogue, first-novelist Bercovici wisely hurries this thin scenario along from one lethal scuffle to the next, pausing for neither scenery nor psychology. Add a strong supporting cast of sketchy but unhackneyed characters--and it's a fast, lean, and slightly dark itinerary that's best read in one fell swoop with no looking back.