Set largely in 1989 Switzerland, where Tangiere is running a holding company, the novel begins with her contemplating getting on with her life and dating again. Stepanov returned to the USSR months ago and inexplicably hasn’t contacted her since. But her problems become exponentially more complicated when her older sister, Camille, visits with her boyfriend, Kurt Ballas, who owns a small commodities trading firm in Chicago. After what was believed to be a failed assassination attempt on Ballas in the States, he is almost killed again on the streets of Zurich. While Tangiere tries to identify who is behind the attempted murders, Stepanov is being coerced by his morally bankrupt boss into smuggling millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds out of the USSR. Stepanov’s endgame, although inordinately dangerous, is to avoid being killed while fleeing the USSR and to somehow get back together with the love of his life. Along the way, as Tangiere and Stepanov attempt to reunite and rekindle their relationship, they battle ruthless smugglers, spies, assassins and jilted lovers. A minor but niggling flaw throughout is the author’s propensity to switch from third- to first-person narration, sometimes in the same sentence: “They had kissed long and hard, and then he got on the waiting jet, and it had roared down the runway and lifted off, heading to Moscow, and I couldn’t really look at it go….” Additionally, character development isn’t nearly as strong as that of the previous novel. Fortunately, the knotty storyline and adrenaline-fueled pacing all but make up for it.
A bombshell-laden storyline featuring a bombshell of a heroine whose over-the-top bravado makes Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne look like Boy Scouts.