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by Gayle Lynds

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-312-30159-6
Publisher: St. Martin's

The tale of two unwanted spies’ fight to foil a terrorist arms deal, Lynds’s latest is almost as easy to read as it is to forget.

One suspects that ex-CIA man Jay Tice has gotten a bad rap. After all, how else could so charming a devil find himself behind bars for life on treason charges? As it turns out, he has been charged unjustly (not so much framed as simply misunderstood), a fact that begins to trickle out after his daring escape from prison. Piecing together the puzzle that is Tice’s past is one Elaine Cunningham—also CIA, and similarly, if not so dramatically, at odds with The Company. It’s her job to find the mysterious Tice and bring him back to justice. Only, the more she learns, the more it seems that Tice just might be—gasp—one of the good guys. In fact, compared to weapons dealer Martin Ghranditti and any number of Cunningham’s corrupt colleagues at the CIA, the man is something of a saint. Which is handy, because it’s up to them, plus a few old comrades, to break up a terrorist plot that just might destabilize the world. “Trust no one” would make a fine tagline for this thriller, with government agents in bed with international criminals, CIA operatives selling off top-secret gadgets and old friends just as likely to stab one another in the back as they are to save each others’ lives. Lynds (Mesmerized, 2001), the co-author of several books (The Altman Code, 2003, etc.) with the late Robert Ludlum, delivers a serviceable plot with all the gunplay, car chases, twists, turns and high-end intrigue one expects from such a thriller. Also on offer, though, are wafer-thin characters and clichéd backstories—not to mention some of the worst aim ever exhibited by a band of supposedly trained killers.

Solidly mediocre.