AGENT IN PLACE by Mark Greaney
Kirkus Star


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Seventh in the high-powered Gray Man series (Gunmetal Gray, 2017, etc.).

The Islamic State group is about to execute Courtland Gentry—the Gray Man—and leave his body floating with others in a bloody lake. Then the story backs up a week to show how he got into this unholy mess. Gentry is ex-CIA, now an assassin for hire. He meets in Paris with Dr. Tarek Halaby, head of the Free Syria Exile Union, or what’s left of it. All the brave members are dead, Halaby says, and he jokes that perhaps Gentry would like to kill the Syrian president for him. “A mission into Syria,” they both agree, is “a fool’s errand.” Which naturally means he'll go there. Halaby hires him to rescue the model Bianca Medina from an imminent IS attack, part of a plan that Halaby hopes will "deal a serious blow to the Syrian regime and hasten the end" of the cruel civil war. A stunning beauty who’s protected by bodyguards in a Paris hotel, Medina is the lover of Ahmed al-Azzam, the brutal Syrian president and “most horrible man in the world"—and also, as she tells Halaby after Gentry brings her back to his safe house, she's secretly the mother of Jamal, Azzam's only son. Azzam’s wife, Shakira, aka “the First Lady of Hell,” knows about Bianca and wants her dead. (Thus the IS attack, which she manipulated.) Halaby isn't sure if Shakira knows about Jamal (she does), but he's sure she'll kill the boy if she does. Bianca is itching to return to Syria to be with Jamal, who's been left behind with a bodyguard, but Gentry, against his own better judgment, agrees to go get him. If there’s “one shot in hell” to snatch the child from the evil dad, “that shot was the Gray Man," a sharpshooter who will gladly kill Azzam if only he can get close enough. So, as anyone who follows the series knows, plenty of blood spills. Whether any of that blood is Assad's—oops, Azzam's—is for the reader to find out. Court Gentry claims to kill only for cash, yet he mostly nails just the bad guys—deep down, he has a moral code. Readers of the great Tom Clancy will salivate over this fast-moving and well-plotted yarn, which is part of a consistently appealing series in which each assignment is billed as the most dangerous ever.

Somehow, Greaney cranks out one winner after another. That’s a lot of work for the Gray Man and plenty of pleasure for thriller fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-451-48890-9
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2018


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