Eric Boss reviews THE PARIS DIVERSION
This accomplished thriller comes from an established author who just keeps producing nailbiters with a heart. While simultaneously spinning a tense, suspenseful plot he shows us a human side of what could easily be one-dimensional characters. Of course intelligence agents have families. Of course. Here we get a look at what it’s like to juggle being a spouse and parent with a job that perpetually places one in danger most dire. Add to the mix a historical adversary who is bent on personal revenge of an epic nature, and a novel becomes an amusement park ride that scares the hell out of you.
Kate Moore is an untethered CIA agent whose activities are mostly determined by herself. Her sense of responsibility to the agency is profound and where she could easily be feathering her own nest she continues to act in its behalf in spite of a lack of apparent direction or control. She’s pretty much on her own except for those assets she’s managed to cultivate by herself. She’s also a mother and wife with a problem-child-husband whose borderline felonious activities are the source of her current dilemma.
His past escapades are as likely as anything else to bring down wrath upon them both, but he persists in his questionably unethical day trading and chicanery.
Set in Paris with a satisfying depiction of the urban landscape and culture, the spy mommy is a mighty tough character who is intent on seeing that her job is being done with the least disruption to her fragile family. Elaborate, Byzantine even, her networks and stable of contacts have been prepared to accommodate what is, in fact, now happening. When it does, it’s a damn good thing she’s taken such care to pave the way for decisive action when her life, her family and her career are threatened by someone whose life she ruined, no matter how richly deserved that ruin was.
In an unusual and appropriate denouement, she demonstrates why she does what she does. She also reveals a conscientious moral foundation that is refreshing in this type of novel, one about which it can be said that it is literally hard to put down. The suspense is nonstop, the action is vivid and cleverly plotted and the garnishes (weapons, techniques, secrets) are deftly arranged in a tasty presentation that will satisfy hardened fans of LeCarre, McDonald, Greene and other classic spy/thriller authors.
Shelf Talker: If non-stop suspense and vivid spy thrillers are your preference, you’ll find everything you want in this, with the special sauce of Paris lusciously drizzled over the whole. A hard-bitten field agent with a heart is sure to capture your approval.