THE SPIRIT TEAM by Walter Wager


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 A contrived thriller, tailor-made for the inevitable movie version to follow, from the author of such workmanlike film fodder as Otto's Boy (1985) and 58 Minutes (1987). This one details the CIA's response to a threat of biological warfare from the Middle East, uncovered when the appearance of hideously deformed dead bodies turned blue inspires an investigation that eventually focuses suspicion upon the power-mad ``Supreme Leader for Life'' of a renegade Islamic republic. The secret location where the lethal fungus Barcelona Delta is being manufactured must be found, and the madman stopped, before most of the population of (for starters) two continents is destroyed. Enter the title operatives, a cadre of experts in espionage, explosives, and related disciplines, all previously declared and documented dead and now furnished with fabricated identities and state-of-the- art paramilitary hardware. The complication? Well, you see, the CIA genius who dreamed up (and orchestrates) the Spirit Team has his own secret agenda, unconnected to the national interest--and when US military intelligence decides to invade the offending terrorist nation, and the secret forces already in place are declared expendable. . . . It all poses extra problems for Team leader David Lloyd, the ``slim and elegant Eurasian woman'' Josephine Tan who assists him in mixing pleasure with business, and their ethnically (and temperamentally) balanced colleagues. The narrative moves from the fictional Madesh to Washington, then Athens, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid, and Istanbul, among other cine-genic locales, and it's laid out in punchy declarative sentences all too frequently underlined by irrelevant taciturn follow-up sentence fragments. Like this one. For emphasis. Apparently. Advice to Hollywood he-men: Gentlemen, start your options. There's even a part for Stallone, if he's willing to play a villain.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-85826-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996


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