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Two Lives of a Spy

by Paul Vidich

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2023
ISBN: 9781639365111
Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Blood flows in Beirut as an American spy tries to stop a killer.

In 2006, civil war rages in Lebanon, and Lebanese American Analise Assad is a spy for the CIA. Her non-official cover is with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and she leads “two lives, one open and known, a lady working for the United Nations, the other a mask known only to Mossad and the CIA’s station chief.” She is at the end of her tour and is glad to be moving on, but the CIA extends her stay for two months. President George W. Bush is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Beirut to broker a peace deal, and Analise must stop a terrorist named Najib Qassem who plans to assassinate her. Qassem is deemed to be such a serious threat that he “can’t be allowed to live,” and to find him Analise exploits his love for his 13-year-old soccer-playing grandson. Kill Qassem? Of course, Analise thinks, but don’t take out innocent civilians with him. Don’t blow up a neighborhood to get one person. Mossad’s David Bauman—and Israel—are less discriminating. “We both love Lebanon,” he tells Analise, “but we hate what it has become.” She has an uneasy working relationship with Bauman, an experienced spy. At one point when he makes a suggestion about her future, she reflects that “she knew him better the more he lied.” Meanwhile, car bombs explode, and Israel attacks the suburbs of Beirut. During all this, Analise’s marriage is crumbling, and she occasionally goes to bed with a story-hungry news reporter named Corbin. He would betray a friend before he would sacrifice a scoop. The Mossad station chief sums up what keeps the blood flowing in the streets: “In our work it is better to avenge the dead than mourn them.”

There is plenty of death to avenge in this tense, fast-moving novel.