ALLEGIANCE by John Moran


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An FBI agent must clear his name when a colleague is murdered.

Other than his friendship with fellow agent Karla Tremaine, Tom Fitzgerald dislikes his job in the New York City field office, so he eagerly accepts a transfer to a rural outpost in Virginia. Meanwhile, in Manhattan’s FBI headquarters, morale is low, since the organized-crime division has failed for years to make any significant arrests of La Cosa Nostra. Every time agents get a lead, their targets elude them. Karla suspects that a Mafia spy has infiltrated the bureau, and she calls her old partner Tom to aid in the investigation. When Tom returns home one day to find Karla dead on his couch, victim of a gangland-style execution, he realizes that she was correct. Further, someone has framed him as the killer. The gripping, well-paced story follows Tom as he criss-crosses the country, trying to stay one step ahead of the criminals and clear his name while protecting his estranged daughter, who is also being targeted. The author effectively shifts perspectives from Tom to the assassin hired to kill him to the Mafia conspirators, ratcheting up the tension and rounding out the characters. The Mafia sections are the novel’s weakest, as the characters are borrowed from countless gangster novels and films. Still, Moran crafts a suspenseful, intriguing page-turner, and the book’s flaws are more than redeemed by the driving force of the narrative.

A few minor missteps, but Allegiance is a winner.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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