—A former government employee” debuts with an old-fashioned spy saga featuring a globetrotting ex—CIA agent, a passionate dental assistant, and high-tech gadgets galore. A dismembered corpse found in the trunk of a Mercedes in Soweto leads CIA agents to a Turkish arms dealer, who is shot before he can reveal the purchaser of a supply of red mercury, an ingredient required to make small but deadly nuclear bombs. A stack of purloined spy satellite photos of San Diego leads CIA director Curtis Willoughby to believe that terrorists are planning the destruction of the city. To smoke them out, he offers former agent Marcus Malone a suicide mission: go undercover as a corrupt arms salesman with a pot of red mercury to sell. Before departing for Europe, Malone drops in on his local dentist and falls for the charms of Karen Faulkner, a beautiful Harvard grad who wrote research papers on Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle before opting out and becoming a dental assistant. One romantic Thai dinner later, the two end up in bed and then in Slovenia, where they spend a lot of CIA funds in expensive hotels before meeting the nasty henchmen of Ito Kawai, the hideously scarred Japanese businessman and sponsor of worldwide anti-American terrorism. Kawai, whose idea of fun is burying his victims alive, wants revenge on the US for dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki that disfigured him and incinerated his parents. Slowing succumbing to the effects of radiation exposure, he plans his vengeance with the bombing of San Diego. Though Karen is held hostage, and Malone’s batch of red mercury spiked with a secret homing device will bring a bomb-loaded US fighter bearing down in a matter of minutes, our rugged action hero not only saves the day but ends up with a new identity and enough money in the bank for a sequel. Hokey, frivolous fun for fans of sadistic bad guys and deathless James Bond heroics.