JFK is in the Oval Office. "Love Me Do" is climbing the charts. And in West Berlin, a wealthy ex-black marketeer, the Dane, is offering a stolen spy satellite for sale. Nothing unusual there, except the asking price: half a billion dollars. Too much for any satellite—unless it's Hitler's legendary, long-lost Project Archangel.
Archangel, it's rumored, is a device capable of shifting the balance of the Cold War. To find it, Mallory and Morse fly to the Monaco Grand Prix and infiltrate the Dane's entourage: a pair of lovely and vicious blonde twins, a ravishing Polish giantess with a taste for movie magazines, and an American ex-mercenary with quiet eyes and hands like stone. The Dane is both a perfect host and a savage killer, and has already done one of the Consultancy's agents to death. But their greatest peril may come from the long-buried passions of the icily beautiful Laura Morse. . . .
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Forrest DeVoe Jr. is the pen name of Max Phillips. In addition to cofounding the pulp revival imprint Hard Case Crime, he has authored one of its debut titles, Fade to Blonde, as well as the literary novels The Artist's Wife and Snakebite Sonnet. He is married and lives in New York City.From Booklist:
With his second Mallory & Morse adventure, DeVoe (a pseudonym for Hard Case Crime cofounder Max Phillips) delivers a finely crafted, if slow-building, homage to pre-le Carre espionage thrillers. He nails the tone of dead seriousness infused with a whiff of camp that marked a late-50s, early-60s era when it was tough to tell if the genre's writers were becoming hipper than its readers or vice versa. Jack Mallory and Laura Morse, operatives for freelance spy shop the Consultancy, must retrieve the superpowered Archangel satellite that's finally hitting the black market 18 years after it was presumed lost with Hitler's fall. It's off to Monaco for depressive, hard-living Texan Mallory. With Morse, martial-arts expert on loan from the CIA, tagging along, mainly as eye candy, Mallory cozies up to malevolent merchant Arne Jespers, who missed his Bond villain calling. From there, the story takes more twists than the Grand Prix on which Mallory makes a potentially deadly $50,000 wager. Readers will be excused for asking why anyone's bothering to rescue this genre from the Austin Powers parodists. But with DeVoe/Phillips pulling it off this well, why ask why? Frank Sennett
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