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 An American freelance intelligence operative has to bust up an Anglo-Spanish parliamentary plot that would shuffle Great Britain's political management and possibly return Gibraltar to its previous owners--in another imported thriller by the author of The Kremlin Armoury (1992). Retired Marine Jake Melrose is the good-guy mercenary summoned by an old Vietnam colleague, now the CIA's man in London, to check out rumors of a nasty bit of treachery that may or may not involve England's Secretary of State for Defense, Freddie Godber. And Godber, who hopes to replace the present Prime Minister, has indeed been approached through his staff about the possibility of a stage-managed assault on Gibraltar, a brush fire that would give Godber the opportunity to look prime ministerial without anyone actually getting hurt. The Spanish fascist officers and their aristocratic patroness, whose cooperation would be necessary for successful execution of the plot, ask only that Freddie kindly return Gibraltar to Spain once he gets the top job. Freddie buys in. So does his cynical staff, including Geoffrey Powers, Freddie's bitterly ambitious parliamentary private secretary. Freddie's neglected wife Claire finds herself unhappily involved, thanks to a near-fling with her husband's friend Billy Vane, an ex-commando who saves Jake from a murderous attack by thugs in Hereford. In the middle of Jake's investigation, his boss gets murdered, and for a while it looks as if the new management may be less interested in parliamentary politics--but Jake hangs in there, keeps his job, and eventually gets to see more of the pretty Mrs. Powers. An adequate thriller plot is ruined for American readers by the preposterously inauthentic utterances of Col. Melrose and his CIA colleagues, who all talk like characters from a WW II comic book or third-graders imitating Clint Eastwood.

Pub Date: April 5th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8027-1274-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993