In Crowder's second outing (after The Iron Web, 1985--not reviewed), a rough retired agent returns to work to find out who blew up the officer in charge of America's Tokyo spyworks. There's nothing left of General Hart or his companion Mr. Tolliver, late of Asian Eyes, the US Asian intelligence center. Neither is there a trace of the documents they were carrying with them when the car they were to take to the British Embassy blew sky-high. Worse yet, the file copies of the documents are missing too. It looks like an inside job--which is why it is necessary to hire outsider Dan Crutcher to catch the rat. Crutcher was a hard-drinking operative of legendary toughness before he retired and went native. Even now his ruthlessness astounds his handler, Joel Donaldson. But ruthlessness is called for when the enemy doesn't seem to mind who he blows up. The horrified Donaldson follows Crutcher first into Japan's lower political criminal depths, and then into the terrifying underside of Hong Kong. Absolutely nothing seems too dirty for Crutcher, who is party to the grisly revenge slaying of the late general's illegitimate son and who doesn't even blink as he demolishes the life and happiness of Donaldson's exquisite Japanese mistress. But Crutcher's barbaric methods work. Bit by bit, he puts together a picture of the treachery that has completely compromised the agency--and then a picture of the traitor himself. Fast, rough, and quite good.