Night Agent
by Quirk, Matthew

"A hot and very pacy new Washington, DC thriller-in the vein of favorite early novels from Grisham and Baldacci-about a young FBI agent's hunt for a Russian mole working in the highest levels of the U.S. government"-

At first, this reads like something by Samuel Beckett. Peter Sutherland spends his nights-284 of them so far-sitting in a little room waiting for the phone to ring. It doesn't. The phone is in the basement of the White House, and if anybody does call, Peter's supposed to tell somebody important. On this night, the phone rings. A woman's wavering voice: He's inside. He's going to kill me. What follows hits close to home: Russia is planting moles in U.S. government offices as part of an effort to rebuild the old Soviet Union. Peter learns quickly that the people he should report to are treacherous, forcing him to go it alone, with some help from the frightened caller. Lots of good, tense plotting and wild action here, though, like a Mission: Impossible movie, it doesn't know when it's time to end. A real pleasure of espionage fiction is tradecraft secrets, and Quirk doesn't disappoint. Someone glancing at his dominant hand as he talks is being deceptive. Hydrogen peroxide, unlike bleach, will destroy DNA. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

After all their meddling with America, the Russians have placed a mole in the White House, leaving over-his-head surveillance specialist Peter Sutherland the only man who can stop them. The son of a wrongly disgraced FBI spy chief whose alleged treachery has tainted his own career, Peter is surprised to land a job in the White House situation room. His assignment is to sit by a special phone through the wee hours, in the rare event that someone calls with an urgent coded message. After almost a year of phone-sitting, he finally gets such a call from Rose Larkin, a panicked young woman who has just escaped the bullet-riddled home of her aunt and uncle. Counterintelligence agents, they were thought by the Russians to be in possession of a hotly pursued red ledger. Rose is drawn to Peter for his caring nature. He is increasingly committed to helping her, even if that means lying to his superiors, as the people whom he thought he could trust prove untrustworthy. Can he even turn for help to President Michael Travers, his basketball buddy? Though some of the spy stuff is so standard as to be silly, Quirk keeps things moving. But the spark and surprise of his past thrillers, such as Cold Barrel Zero (2016), are largely missing. And though Quirk has never drawn characters with much depth, the paper-thinness of Peter (who disdains the Hardy Boys but frequently seems to be emulating them) and Rose (one of whose main roles is to point out when Peter is bleeding) is disappointing. Quirk goes for timeliness in imagining the Russians taking control of Washington, but while the book does resonate to a small degree with current events, reality beat fiction to such possibilities as our enemy owning a sitting U.S. president. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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