A CIA assassin must kill the agent who recruited and mentored him.
In Africa, US Secretary of Commerce Donald Howard witnesses the devastation of AIDS and, as an African-American, feels especially moved. He determines to convince the president to commit American resources, and upbraids Secret Service protector Alex Deavers for seeming indifference to the African plight. Howard is also given a volatile bit of decades-old intelligence about Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination. Then both Howard and Deavers are blown out of their truck by a hidden explosive. Cut to African-American government assassin Luther Green, who wraps up a pro forma hit in Stockholm before flying back to Washington for his next assignment. CIA Director Kilmer Gray gives Luther a thumbnail summary of Howard’s African murder and assigns Luther the task of killing Deavers (who not only didn’t die in the explosion, but isn’t Secret Service after all, only posing as one). Luther has become a “Wolf,” or rogue agent, and already eliminated some former colleagues; Deavers recruited and trained Luther, who nonetheless accepts his assignment with professional stoicism. Wariness and uncertainty color every subsequent move that Luther makes, reinforced by the fact his mentor seems to stay two steps ahead of him—as well as by a small feeling that he might not be guilty. Thus, Luther blows a night of passion with a hot club-girl named Tomiko when he suspects Deavers of hiding in his apartment and, worse, also briefly suspects Tomiko. Deavers leaves him a lengthy recorded message, then follows up with short notes that unsettlingly find their way to Luther. Teamed with regular sidekick Hampton, a tech and weapons advisor, Luther tracks Deavers through South Philly, Baltimore and New York before an extended showdown in Luther’s native Detroit, with family and beloved friends in danger.
Hardwick (Color of Justice, 2002, etc.) writes crackling scenes and vivid dialogue, but is not entirely convincing in his depiction of the world of espionage.