SNOW WOLF by Glenn Meade


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 While doubts have persisted down through the years as to the exact circumstances of Joseph Stalin's 1953 death, ex-journalist Meade fictionally clears up the mysteries in a deft, dramatic cliffhanger. Before Eisenhower takes office as president, he's briefed on the dismaying possibility that the increasingly unstable tyrant who rules the USSR could be preparing a thermonuclear assault on America. Convinced that the risk is real, Ike authorizes the CIA to make a preemptive strike against Stalin. The agency's chosen instruments are Alex Slanski, a Russian-born OSS vet who made his way from a state orphanage to the US as an adolescent, and Anna Khorev, a Gulag escapee granted political asylum in America. Parachuted into Estonia, Alex and Anna (posing as man and wife) set off for the Soviet Union's capital city. Meantime, US intelligence discovers that the KGB has learned about the plot. It's too late to recall Alex and Anna, so the undercover crowd dispatches case officer Jake Massey to kill his own operatives. Before Jake can begin stalking them, Alex and Anna realize that they've become the objects of a nationwide manhunt ordered by Lavrenty Beria, the villainous head of the secret police. In charge of the dragnet is Major Yuri Lukin, who soon stumbles on the fact that Alex is his long-lost brother. Joining forces with the would-be hit man, disaffected Yuri helps Alex outwit Jake and gets him past the elite guardians of Stalin's apartment in the heart of the Kremlin. Meade provides exciting, ingenious answers to questions that linger from a darker age, recapturing an era when the good guys still had to live by their wits, without the aid of cyberspace hardware or weaponry. An impressive debut by a storyteller worth watching. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 16th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14421-0
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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