THE PRESIDENTIAL ARCHIVE by John Griffiths

THE PRESIDENTIAL ARCHIVE

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Could the man most likely to be the next US president be a former KGB spy? Such an unlikely premise sets off a race to the truth that pits American father against Russophile daughter, spies against spies, and Soviet mobsters against Washington lawyers in this dialogue-soggy espionage tale from Griffiths (The Last Spy, 1992, etc.). Watch out for those wild Russian parties, especially if you're American, tall, blond, beautiful, and the niece of the great Republican hope for the White House. Taking a break from researching her Ph.D. thesis in Moscow, Cassandra Wolfe meets a sleazy chess-playing Russian pimp who offers to sell her a tape recording from the Soviet presidential archives--a tape suggesting that Gorbachev and his cronies knew of a KGB spy, an ``authoritative source with access at the highest level'' of the US government, code-named Oracle. Other hazy elements suggest that Oracle was not the minor American diplomat unmasked by Wolfe's father, Nick, a former spy, but instead the presidential candidate Hal Reynolds, who also happens to be Nick Wolfe's brother-in-law. Cassandra, estranged from her father, troubled by memories of the apparently coincidental suicides of her mother and a sultry Russian sexpot who may have been Reynolds's mistress, is suddenly accused of the pimp's murder. Nick flies in, and the two spend a hundred pages talking about family, politics, spying, and how lousy a father Nick has been. They end up being pursued by Russian cops and mobsters, and arrive in America with the dead pimp's laptop computer just in time to help fight a lawsuit, based on a transcript of the tape, aimed at ruining candidate Reynolds before the November election. Father and daughter reconcile while exposing a conspiracy of Russian mobsters, political consultants, and Nashville recording engineers. An overly chatty postCold War thriller with a truly dysfunctional family at its improbable core.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-7867-0316-4
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1996




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