Minotaur, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
have long been an ardent fan of Dana Stabenow's
series (like many others, I like the indomitable strength of character of her heroine) and have also enjoyed her
mysteries. She's exploring new territory in
, with high seas adventure, rather surprising terrorists, and a married couple, whose careers mandate a long-distance relationship, as leads.
he novel is aptly introduced (and could be summarized) by a Rudyard Kipling verse from
Girdled and desperate we dare / The blindfold game of war.
' Hugh Rincon and his wife, Sara Lange, grew up in south-central Alaska, were childhood sweethearts, married, and then found their respective careers - he works for the CIA and she's a Coast Guard executive officer on patrol off Alaska aboard the
- keep them apart most of the time. Retired journalist Arlene Harte, who works for Hugh, is at the scene of a terrorist bombing in Thailand and follows two Asian men (who were acting suspiciously) to a meeting with international pirates. The trail from there leads to an arms dealer in Moscow and an order for cesium, with application in the manufacture of a dirty bomb. Unable to convince the CIA director of an imminent threat, Hugh heads to Hong Kong with Arlene (whose grandmotherly appearance belies her ruthlessness) to dig further. They uncover a Korean connection that sends Hugh onward to Anchorage, unbeknownst to his CIA bosses.
act of piracy, plenty of violence, and derring-do on the high seas. Sara exhibits the strength we've come to expect from Stabenow's female characters, and Hugh has an active role to play as well. Weather and communications failures leave a chase at sea as the only course to pursue, in attempting to stop a devastating act of terrorism against a U.S. city. The action is gripping. And, though I found the spycraft in Hong Kong slick and amateurish, I enjoyed
, and hope the author continues to write thrillers, as well as giving us more of Kate Shugak.
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