Homeland Security tries to bring a crack agent out of retirement, setting off a cat-and-mouse game in a rather thin thriller.
Salam Al Fayad, or “Fade,” is the man a new division of Homeland Security badly wants to carry out a mission in the Middle East. But Fade is having none of it. During a nasty ambush while on duty a few years earlier, he took a bullet to his spine. The wound left him vulnerable to complete paralysis, and the government refused to cover surgery that might eliminate the threat. But Fade’s near seclusion doesn’t deter wily Hillel Strand at Homeland Security from trying to enlist Fade for the vital assignment. From Fade’s past, Strand ferrets out information about drug dealing to persuade the agent to come back to work. As further leverage, Strand tips off some cops that Fade may be the serial killer they’re seeking. When the police stakeout backfires—sharpshooter Fade takes out several cops—Strand is in a spot: Fade, now wise to Strand’s ruse, could go public, exposing Strand’s tactics. Strand dispatches associate Matt Egan, telling him to do whatever is necessary to silence Fade. Would Egan kill Fade? The two had bonded on earlier missions. Both a sense of loyalty and the awareness of Fade’s lethal skills dog Egan’s pursuit. Also drawn into the chase is police detective Karen Manning, out to avenge the deaths of her fellow officers in the earlier shootout at Fade’s home. Author Kyle (Smoke Screen, 2003) thus sets in motion a three-way pursuit, building a fair amount of suspense as he leads to the final confrontation and having some fun along the way—there’s a particularly entertaining scene involving a car fit for James Bond.
Tricky enough, but with underdeveloped characters, stilted dialogue, and often clunky prose.