WAR TOYS by Hampton Howard


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Ex-CIA agent Noah Fredericks, who quit the Company for the usual reasons (a mission that went wrong, abused loyalties), now lives happily as a computer-software consultant in Paris with girlfriend Danielle. . . until suave, courtly CIA-type Winthrop Burnham pressures Fredericks into doing a little job for him: just a small inquiry into the shady financial doings of a minor French politician. But, two weeks after Fredericks has done as asked, his world falls apart: he's attacked, arrested, framed, interrogated by both police and a French spy-chief. . . and then ordered to leave the country. What's going on? Well, as Fredericks soon discovers (going underground in Paris, with help from an elderly homosexual chum), he's merely been a pawn in a scheme to provide cover for the French spychief--who is in fact a double-agent, supplying defense secrets to Burnham. And so the rest of this breezy, modestly clever thriller is Fredericks' lethal revenge against everyone who has clone him dirty (Burnham, the French spy, a French cop)--with a scheme that involves selling defense information to the KGB, blithely killing a Russian agent, and elaborately framing the French spy and Burnham for the assorted crimes. Nicely seedy Parisian locales, lots of smart-alecky repartee, a few jolts of violence, and a sturdy little trick/ counter-trick plot: zesty minor-suspense entertainment--very much in the style of Brian Freemantle's Charlie Muffin escapades (but without the thick British accent).

Pub Date: March 18th, 1983
Publisher: Stein & Day