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FAKE TRUTH by Lee Goldberg


by Lee Goldberg

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5420-1469-4
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Ian Ludlow, the novelist who’s blessed or cursed with the ability to invent and transplant plot twists from real life to fiction and vice versa, gets a third opportunity to devise a rollicking tale that’s ripped from the headlines and a bunch of James Bond movies.

Always looking for new ways to bring the United States to its knees, Russia’s GRU stumbles over a new wrinkle flooding digital media with fake news about nonexistent events: They provoke or invent incendiary incidents they can count on other news sources to parrot. Double-crossing every party she can find, GRU agent Beth Wheeler arranges to have a well-armed security team for an anti-immigrant Texas ranger kill two dozen clueless Mexican drug smugglers with weapons that will point to a White House conspiracy so that another clandestine group of GRU hirelings passing themselves off as enforcers for Mexico’s Vibora drug cartel can execute the members of the security team. Not content with staging an incident bound to have international reverberations, Beth leaks to Fox News puppet Dwight Edney a recording of the president’s expletive-laced vow to take revenge on Mexico that’s so exclusive that the president never actually made it. The only way to prevent the two nations from being dragged into war is to wait until Ian and his research assistant, Margo French (Killer Thriller, 2019, etc.), return from Portugal, where Ian’s search for new fictional inspiration in real-life anecdotes has plunged them into a hitherto unsuspected murder and endangered their lives, so that they can survive to revise the Russian agents’ sinister closing act and make it more suitable for peaceniks and life in the Western Hemisphere. That’s exactly what Ian does in a finale whose general outline is as predictable as its working out is hilariously surprising.

The author’s juggling of truth and fiction is almost as dexterous as his hero’s.