SNARK by William L. DeAndrea


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Not much punch or surprise here, but DeAndrea (Killed in the Ratings; Five O'Clock Lightning) provides a smooth, professionally handled espionage yarn, using characters seen before in his Cronus. This time out, Jeffrey Bellman, spy extraordinaire and son of a US Intelligence maverick known as The Congressman, travels to London to find the missing Sir Lewis Alfot, reluctantly retired Chief of British Intelligence. Bellman survives an assassination attempt on his arrival with the help of copper-haired British agent Felicity Grace, and the near-miss tells Bellman that his nemesis Leo Calvin--whom Bellman outwitted in Cronus--is now in England. Calvin has nabbed Sir Lewis as a lure for Bellman and as part of an effort to reingratiate himself with the Soviet KGB man in London, Bulanin. But Sir Lewis gives Calvin the slip and in the process reveals himself to be the Sussex Cyclops, a recently active, gruesome serial murderer whom, ironically, Alfot had been charged with uncovering. Sir Lewis' killings are a mad attempt to reawaken the lagging, defeatist British national spirit. The ensuing, circuitous chase between Bellman, Calvin, Allot, Bulanin and British Intelligence concludes in a macabre wax museum called The Tombs. There, with all the principals together for the first time, Calvin is killed and Sir Lewis, after a failed suicide attempt, is taken into custody by Bellman. The story moves crisply and the British-US tension over intelligence security is sharply rendered, but the major plot twists are easy to foresee, and Bellman's oft-expressed ambivalence over the work to which he was born is unconvincing. Diverting, not memorable.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux