Stephanie Patrick is back, in a brilliantly edgy story about two people caught in the turbulence of terrorism -- from the author of The Rhythm Section.After the tragic loss of her family, Stephanie Patrick was lured into the intelligence world, where she was transformed into the feared assassin Petra Reuter. Eighteen months later, she disappeared. Now, she's living a quiet, peaceful life, under an assumed identity, in an idyllic village in southern France. But escaping her erstwhile employer proves to be easier said than done. His reappearance threatens to ruin everything she has created for herself, but he comes with a deal that offers a slender strand of hope: if she agrees to one last assignment, she can then walk away for good.The target is Koba, the alias used by a Russian criminal with interests stretching from the Urals to America's East Coast. He's a man with influential connections to former members of the KGB and the Soviet Red Army but his true identity remains a secret.Stephanie is plunged back into the shadowy underworld where international crime and terrorism meet. Her ability to switch personae is what keeps her alive from day to day but it's a fragile talent that constantly threatens to undermine her. Her search for Koba leads her from New York through Europe to Moscow. Yet despite the violence and corruption she encounters, Stephanie discovers the one thing she hadn't expected: true love.His name is Konstantin Komarov. He may be either a businessman or a criminal,depending on one's point of view. The FBI calls him the Don from the Don. He exists at the heart of a financial empire created by the Russian crime pandemic. Like Stephanie, Konstantin is a chameleon, constantly adapting to changing environments. He's a man as comfortable in Manhattan as he would be in Moscow or Magadan.But between Stephanie and Komarov lies Koba, an old alias masking a new global threat. In a world where trust is weakness, honesty is na´vetÚ, and where brutality is routine, could falling in love be the greatest risk of all?
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Mark Burnell was born in Britain and grew up in Brazil. He now lives in London and is currently working on his next novel.From Publishers Weekly:
Stylishly written yet desperately in need of a good kick in the pants, this plodding sequel to 1999's The Rhythm Section marks the return of Euro-assassin Stephanie Patrick. As the story opens, Patrick has retired to southern France, trying hard to forget her past and live a normal life. Her old employer, a shadowy organization called Magenta House, persuades her to take one more assignment: find and eliminate the mastermind behind a plot to stockpile vast amounts of Marburg virus, one of the world's most feared bio-weapons. To carry out the task, Patrick reverts to her old identity, the ruthlessly efficient Petra Reuter, to whom each new contract is "just a shift at the factory." Patrick proceeds to go deep underground, moving freely between American, European and Russian capitals in her search for the terrorist. Along the way, she meets and falls hard for shady Russian business tycoon Konstantin Komarov. They join forces in the pursuit, yet along the way both discover that in the treacherous world of espionage and terrorism, loyalties often get lost in the shifting sands. Throughout, Burnell shows exceptional skill portraying mood and moments of swift action. His narrative moves smoothly between third- and first-person viewpoints, a technique adding depth and dimension to Patrick's character. His plot, however, sags badly in the middle and loses sight of its target. After enduring many scenes of anguished romance between Patrick and Komarov, many readers may find themselves forgetting what the story is about.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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