An epic struggle between two brothers throws Russian-American relations in jeopardy during this strong installment of Abbott’s series (Inside Man, 2014, etc.) featuring ex–CIA sleuth Sam Capra.
Just when Capra is sure he’s about to retire, he gets word that his brother, Danny, thought to have been beheaded in a terrorist video, may still be alive. He doesn’t yet know that Danny, now known as Philip Judge, has become a killer for hire who’s just taken on his biggest assignment, executing the president of Russia for $20 million. Both brothers wind up infiltrating the circle of Russian billionaires who’ve landed in Miami. To stop Danny from carrying out the execution, Sam needs to find the identity of Firebird, the president’s associate who commissioned the hit. Sam is helped considerably by his ability to attract women: he charms hard-partying Russian celebrity Katya Kirova and falls into a sexual affair with Irina Belinskaya, the widow of a high-ranking official, whose rumored vengeance on her husband’s killers has earned her the title of Russia’s most dangerous woman. Meanwhile, Sam’s associate, Mila, has her own reasons to find Danny and keeps her information hidden from Sam—throwing him into further danger before the brothers reach their climactic confrontation.
Abbott loads his story with entertaining plot twists, not all of which make perfect sense, but the bond and betrayal between the two brothers add emotional depth to the action.