Derek Haas is starting to make a name for himself with his espionage thrillers and the spy game always works outside of legality:
Austin Clay is the right hand of the USA government, he executes missions that no other operative has the ability or skills to pull it off. The only person who knows who Austin Clay is is his handler,and he is given the missions that his government can deny involvement with. When Clay is sent to track down a missing American agent who appears to be captured just outside of Moscow, he discovers that the agent was on a mission that was set to identify a mole in the top level of the US government. Clay's priority is no longer just to get the agent out, but also identify this mole, which means he has to loose contact with even his handler. His country is going to think that he abandoned and as the forces against him grow, Clay knows he must do everything to survive in order to protect his country.
From start to finish this is an action packed ride that will appeal to those want a book to grab a hold of them right away and not let up to the end. It does become a spy vs spy book the more you read into it and you questions who is going to win out in the end and really who are the good guys, as who Clay can trust is never clear. I thought it was interesting that this book took place in Russia, as with the tensions that have been going on there lately. It was a nice change to read something with this perspective as many of the espionage books tend to take place in the middle east. Other than having the book mainly take place in Russia Haas does not add anything new to the genre (and really having it take place in Russia send is back to the cold war roots), but that does not mean that it was not a good read, just nothing new is ventured here.
I really liked the history parts about Clay, but I never really felt like got to know him. I think part of the problem is the three different points of view throughout the book, but you know that Clay is the main character. I think there should have been more Clay and less of the other two guys. Other than the history parts, which there were not enough in my opinion, Clay feels very one dimensional. One thing I will say about Clay is he knows how to fight. The action scenes within this book were really interesting and I liked going through the thought process with Clay to see how he would handle each situation and never doing more (also known as killing) than he has to.
This book is perfect for a quick read on the beach or soaking in the rays in the backyard. You will be flying through the pages as Haas keeps the action coming. While the character development is really lacking in this book, I would read another by Haas as he was able to keep me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I especially would read another book with Clay as the main character as I am interested to see how he became the top spy/agent that he is today.
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