by Reich, Christopher

Preferring work that allows him to stay under the radar, freelance industrial spy Simon Riske reluctantly takes a high-profile job from the CIA involving a gangster's theft of millions from a visiting Saudi prince and a stolen letter containing highly sensitive information.

Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of Numbered Account, Rules of Deception, Rules of Vengeance, Rules of Betrayal, The Devil's Banker, and many other thrillers. His novel The Patriots Club won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Novel in 2006. He lives in Encinitas, California.

A fabulously wealthy Saudi prince, who is also his country's intelligence chief, leaves Paris' George V hotel in a long motorcade destined for the airport. Corsican gangster Tino Coluzzi stops the motorcade and nets more than 600,000 Euros in cash. Only after the heist does he discover a handwritten letter that could have a tectonic impact on world politics. In London, Simon Riske lives quietly, meticulously restoring exotic sports cars-and doing freelance investigations for banks and insurance companies. But the American-born Riske is known to the CIA as a one-time associate of the Corsican Mafia in Marseille. Earlier, Coluzzi set Riske up for a prison stretch in a French jail, so now, two decades later, Riske relishes the chance for payback. But he must contend with a psychopathic female Russian agent run by the head of Russia's foreign intelligence agency. Reich's previous novels have sold well, and it seems likely that this one will, too. There's plenty of action, interesting bits of tradecraft, and well-sketched locales in London, Paris, and Marseille. Best of all is Reich's succinct prose style. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A reluctant agent pursues a mysterious document through multiple layers of deception and misdirection.Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's motorcade is ambushed in Paris, and most of hell breaks loose. Tino Coluzzi, a member of the Corsican Mafia, has robbed the prince not only of 600,000 Euros, but also of a letter—a letter that Vassily Borodin, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, hopes to use to oust the Russian president. The prince, who also happens to be the chief of Saudi Arabia's secret police, has acted as Borodin's agent in acquiring the document, and Coluzzi is acting as the agent of an as-yet unnamed American. The American wants the letter; Coluzzi gets to keep the money. But Coluzzi is greedy and decides to keep the letter too, which sets in motion two new agents. Borodin's is Valentina Asanova, a beautiful Russian assassin; the American, now named Barnaby Neill, calls on Simon Riske, an American living in London with a business restoring high-end sports cars. Riske has a shadowy background and possesses unusual talents and skills. He's been in banking and also in a French prison; he was a street hoodlum, but a fellow-prisoner Jesuit priest gave him college-level instruction and a not-so-formal education in self-defense. He is an expert pickpocket, first seen stealing back a valuable stolen watch. Though he is reluctant to work for Neill, he agrees when he learns that Coluzzi is the thief—he has a long-standing grievance against Coluzzi. Nikki Perez, a Paris police detective, meets with Riske in Paris, and though at first she has her own career to tend to, eventually she becomes an ally. All Riske's talents and skills are called upon as he tries to retrieve the letter and get a measure of revenge against Coluzzi. He even figures out the deeper game being played. Riske is a likable character, as is Perez, but neither is really compelling, and the rest are pretty predictable: the blonde Russian assassin, an inscru t able CIA mandarin, a blustering French police captain. The evocations of Provence are nice, the plotting is competently handled, but in the end there's not enough sizzle. Solid if underwhelming jaunt through France. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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