Saturday, February 18, 2012

House Of The Hunted-Mark Mills

House Of The Hunted

Mark Mills

Random House, Apr 3 2012, $26.00

ISBN: 9781400068197

In 1919 in Petrograd, young British SIS intelligence agent Tom Nash is frantic when his beloved Irina Bibikov is arrested. He needs to get her and his unborn out of Russia, but his comrade Zaharov betrays him and other operatives. He soon learns his Irina was executed, but before he does his final act of defiance towards the brutal regime he warns other agents that their lives are in jeopardy due to Zaharov.

In 1935, Tom lives a serene life as a popular travel writer in Toulon, France. He knows war is coming to the continent, but he is indifferent as he enjoys the French Riviera amongst expatriates from Britain, the States and Russia, retired and active spies, and artists. Tom is awakened when an assassin tries to murders him. He kills the intruder who murdered his beloved dog Hector. Tom disposes the body of the killer at sea and begins an inquiry as he knows this is only the first attempt from someone in the shadows who knows his past and also knows his villa.

This is an engaging espionage investigative noir as Tom knows when his illusion is shattered that you never fully get in from the cold. Tom is an excellent protagonist who keeps the entertaining storyline focused as he and his friend Leonard move smoothly between the affluent Cote d’Azur social circle and the deadly spy game. The stretches into the lifestyle of the rich slows down the suspense; though that also serves as a profound counterpoint to the beginning of Hitler’s atrocities. Fans will enjoy the hero’s exploits in Russia just after WWI and on the French Riviera just before WWII.

Harriet Klausner

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