Zebra, Feb 2009, $6.99
The mission in Cambodia went south resulting in the deaths of two CIA agents and the brutal incarceration of the third Dante Johnson in a Thai prison. He has little hope to escape, but vows to remain alert so if the opportunity arises, he is gone though he is not sure what reality is any longer. The imprisoned operative holds his former lover, contract agent Catalina Dion culpable though she is dead.
Rescued after eighteen months in hell, Dante returns to the States with plans to regain his equilibrium wasting R&R time on his boat in Key West. However, he is a bit shocked when his olfactory senses detect the odor of Cat’s perfume as he assumed she was killed. Things turn nasty when he picks up a ringing public phone near his vessel; as an explosion follows. Making inquiries he learns Cat is not only alive, but Viktor Zavovsky, a Russian scientist blames her and him for the accidental deaths of his family and her son is an eye for an eye pawn to this obsessed relentless madman.
The key to this CIA romantic suspense is the thrills and chills throughout the fine plot as Cate Noble provides an action-packed tal starting four months earlier with flashbacks that might not be real adding to the excitement. The romantic subplot is deftly handled to heat the sheets but not interfere with the cat and mouse game. Fans will root for the good guys, but also empathize with the villain who has an ax to grind and is grinding it into a fine tale that lives up to its title DEAD RIGHT.