In Twining’s debut thriller, Fort Knox could use a few more guards.
The arsenal is robbed, to the tune of $40 million. Back in the ’30s, things were tough—tough enough for FDR to take the country off the gold standard, which the president had hoped might bring the Great Depression to its knees. In effect, gold became illegal, and soon, five solid-gold Double Eagle coins wound up in a Fort Knox vault to keep them out of opportunistic hands. Over the next few decades, each one’s value skyrocketed to millions of dollars. The FBI, CIA and other agencies charged with various aspects of guardianship move into action to recover the treasure. Enter Special Agent Jennifer Browne (“strikingly beautiful . . . milky brown skin . . . curly black hair that just kissed her bare shoulders.”) Strikingly beautiful she may be, but Special Agent Browne has in the recent past blotted her copybook by shooting to death, albeit accidentally, an FBI colleague. But if she cracks the case of the purloined coins, redemption is hers. Now enter cat burglar Tom Kirk, described by those in a position to judge as the best thief who ever rappelled down the side of a building. Tom, though, is burnt out and wants to retire. On the theory that it takes one to catch one, the determined special agent is dispatched to London with a sweetheart deal for the peerless Kirk if he’ll help recover the illegal eagles. But in a world where Double Eagles make double-dealing obligatory, not a single thing goes easily.
Lifeless and derivative lead characters gum up the plot: Jennifer is petulant when she ought to be feisty, and Tom is more insipid than intrepid.