Two intelligence agents from the United States and India, respectively, work together to stop Iran from launching a nuclear missile at Israel in Richardson’s (Dragon’s Paw, 2012) political thriller.
American operative Adam Chin and Col. Supriya Lal of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency make a good team, both as agents and lovers. Their latest mission—and second book—finds them in Uzbekistan to take down human traffickers. It’s there, however, that they find evidence that Iran may be using smuggled gold to fund their nuclear program. The two track the gold to a bank in Turkey and soon realize that Iran is planning a nuclear strike against Israel. With the White House fearing blame for a resultant war if the U.S. assists Israel, Chin and Supriya are on their own in their effort to thwart nuclear devastation in the Middle East. The first half of Richardson’s novel reads like an espionage story, as Chin and Supriya follow a truck from a gold mine and creep into a corrupt banker’s room to pilfer information. They even employ vaguely described but 007–esque “electronic gizmos” for such tasks as opening a locked safe. The second half is more in tune with Richardson’s previous novel, featuring multiple perspectives from a bevy of characters that occasionally sidelines the protagonists. Nevertheless, these characters are engrossing and relevant, as they include a possible mole among the Iranian baddies as well as TV reporter Mariella Sadat in Tehran, the site of the story’s climax. This structure also allows for a spotlight on the villains, such as the especially vicious Davood “David” Shirazi of Iran’s secret police. Chin and Supriya sometimes seem a bit too good at what they do; being handcuffed, for example, doesn’t stop either of them from knocking out a couple of security guards. But as the story introduces more characters and expands the plot—Iranian enforcers instigate riots in Tehran, for example—the duo is unable to avoid capture and possibly worse. The couple’s relationship, too, shows progress, but a secret could threaten their future.
A sound sophomore effort with enough espionage fuel to power a future entry in the series.