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Swashbuckling US Navy Lieutenant-Commander Alan Craik (Top Hook, 2002, etc.) returns to earn the thanks of a grateful nation, not to mention his growing fan base.

Craik is smart, brave, and sensitive too, an outstanding intelligence officer, a steadfast friend, a crackerjack lover. And over the course of nearly 500 pages—a real tribute here—he also manages not to be boring. Except that at the outset of his latest adventure he’s a monumental bore to himself. Having lost two fingers on his left hand in the shootout that climaxed Top Hook, Alan is on medical leave, a period of forced inactivity he finds close to unendurable. In desperation, the self-acknowledged adrenaline junkie pleads with his Navy Criminal Investigative Service buddy, Mike Dukas, for something to alleviate the pain. Mike sends him to Jakarta, sure it will amount to a three-day junket. “Sleeping Dog,” after all, is nine years old and moribund, as close to “a no-risk operation” as a still-open intelligence file ever gets. But, of course, that's not the way it turns out. In Jakarta, Alan goes to a prescribed meeting place in order to contact an agent unlikely to materialize. Wrong, almost fatally wrong. Enter a cluster of agents, US and otherwise. Suddenly there's gunfire, and Alan has to dive for cover, having no idea why anyone would be shooting at him. Now the game’s afoot, clandestine high jinks in which cunning enemies appear in a spooky variety of guises, with good guys uncommonly hard to tell from bad. In the blink of a spy, “Sleeping Dog” has segued into wild and crazy “Chinese Checkers,” an operation packed with risk to life, limb, and, especially important, careers.

Longer than it should be and convoluted, but redeemed by some brilliant scenes and a thoroughly agreeable cast.

Pub Date: July 8th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-33628-4
Page count: 492pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2003


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