Agencies and emissaries spanning the globe hope to thwart an assassination attempt on the president of the United States in the second novel featuring retired CIA agent Ike Blass (The Leningrad Affair, 2011).
British agency MI6 sends operatives to Madrid with an assignment to subvert a terrorist plot that’s already been initiated. One of the terrorists, Amin, is tracked to Cuba, where it is believed that a dying Fidel Castro’s power will soon shift to his brother, Gen. Raul Castro. It’s here in Cuba where many of the story’s players congregate: Blass enlisted to neutralize a Cuban training camp, Maria Lopez of MI6 with a vendetta, another CIA agent working covertly and Cuban exile Jesus Cantu foiling a double-cross. The author’s gleefully convoluted novel introduces characters at a rapid-fire pace, and as such, most partners don’t stay partners for long in ever-changing circumstances. Some of them even seem to disappear only to return at an integral moment, like Pedro, in the U.S. illegally (dubbing him an “exchange student”) and deported to Mexico. Blass is initially a supporting character in his own story, but he becomes the focus as he and Lopez keep their eyes on Amin before they ultimately turn toward one another. Amin, as the central villain, is more complex than his narrative counterpart, particularly with the occasional glimpses of his family’s catastrophic past. He proves charming with the ladies, an advantage when he can work it in his favor (using a woman as a means of gaining entrance to Mexico, en route to the U.S.) but simultaneously his greatest flaw, as the opposite sex tends to distract him from his operation. Blass may return in a future book, but any number of the other characters (whether or not that character makes it to the end), especially the composed, capable Jesus Cantu, could easily handle his or her own series.
Story and characters that surprise and entertain on a multitude of levels will have readers drumming their fingers on Kindle screens awaiting Terry’s next novel.