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The murder of CIA London division chief Brendan brings Jake Melrose and ex-SAS agent Vane together in an uneasy partnership to investigate the killing. By the author of The Kremlin Armoury.
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An American freelance intelligence operative has to bust up an Anglo-Spanish parliamentary plot that would shuffle Great Britain's political management and possibly return Gibraltar to its previous owners--in another imported thriller by the author of The Kremlin Armoury (1992). Retired Marine Jake Melrose is the good-guy mercenary summoned by an old Vietnam colleague, now the CIA's man in London, to check out rumors of a nasty bit of treachery that may or may not involve England's Secretary of State for Defense, Freddie Godber. And Godber, who hopes to replace the present Prime Minister, has indeed been approached through his staff about the possibility of a stage-managed assault on Gibraltar, a brush fire that would give Godber the opportunity to look prime ministerial without anyone actually getting hurt. The Spanish fascist officers and their aristocratic patroness, whose cooperation would be necessary for successful execution of the plot, ask only that Freddie kindly return Gibraltar to Spain once he gets the top job. Freddie buys in. So does his cynical staff, including Geoffrey Powers, Freddie's bitterly ambitious parliamentary private secretary. Freddie's neglected wife Claire finds herself unhappily involved, thanks to a near-fling with her husband's friend Billy Vane, an ex-commando who saves Jake from a murderous attack by thugs in Hereford. In the middle of Jake's investigation, his boss gets murdered, and for a while it looks as if the new management may be less interested in parliamentary politics--but Jake hangs in there, keeps his job, and eventually gets to see more of the pretty Mrs. Powers. An adequate thriller plot is ruined for American readers by the preposterously inauthentic utterances of Col. Melrose and his CIA colleagues, who all talk like characters from a WW II comic book or third-graders imitating Clint Eastwood. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Veering from adventure to political drama to pop psychology, the plot of this thriller seems slightly addled at best. Jake Melrose, an ex-Marine captain doing low-level security work, is asked by the CIA's London station head to check up on Billy Vane, a former SAS man who has some damning information on the British defense minister, Freddie Godber. Through the intercession of die-hard Falangists and an Irish Protestant terrorist, Godber plans to set up Spain as a military threat to Britain, then use the defense ministry's decisive "response" as a springboard into 10 Downing St. Meanwhile, the station head is killed, the mutually mistrustful Melrose and Vane team up, and Melrose develops a romantic interest in a woman admired by Vane--and married to Godber's private secretary. The violence here seems arbitrary and the writing can be laughable: "There was a lean and hungry look about Madrid." Hunter ( The Kremlin Armoury ) served in the RAF and the British civil service and clearly knows something of parliamentary politics, but he is out of his depth with things American, particularly the dialect; among other glaring errors, the Ivy League CIA types all say "ain't."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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