Monday, March 12, 2012

Pierce’s Picks: “An American Spy”

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

An American Spy, by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur):
Steinhauer’s third Milo Weaver novel (after The Tourist and The Nearest Exit) finds the reluctant espionage operative recovering from nearly mortal wounds and the eradication of the clandestine company for which he worked--the CIA’s fictional, and top secret, Department of Tourism. Weaver wants nothing more than to return to civilian life and reconnect with his wife and daughter. But then his boss, Tourism director Alan Drummond, disappears and the surmise is made that he’s gone in search of revenge against Xin Zhu, the Chinese spymaster behind the department’s destruction. Milo is recruited to find Drummond and stop him from perpetrating any international disasters. The trick is, Xin Zhu also has a plan for Milo: to turn his loyalties. Caught between adversaries, and meanwhile negotiating the dangers of dealing with a secretive UN agency run by his father, Milo puts not just his own life, but the lives of his family, at risk. Steinhauer’s plot is slow at times; yet his story is brilliantly twisted and filled with captivating personalities, and it makes clear that the spy-fiction genre doesn’t lack for intrigue, even two decades after the Cold War ended.

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This is going to be a busy week as far as book releases go. In addition to An American Spy, the following crime/thriller works will debut:

Death at the Jesus Hospital, by David Dickinson (Soho Constable)
The Girl Next Door, by Brad Parks (Minotaur)
The Gods of Gotham, by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn/Putnam)
Helsinki White, by James Thompson (Putnam)
Phantom, by Jo Nesbø (Harvill Secker)
Rizzo’s Daughter, by Lou Manfredo (Minotaur)
Sail of Stone, by Åke Edwardson (Simon & Schuster)
The Voice of the Spirits, by Xavier-Marie Bonnot (MacLehose Press)

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