Saturday, August 16, 2014

CLOSE CALL by Stella Rimington

Few international spy thrillers are on a par with those penned by Stella Rimington.  Hers are intelligent, informed, exciting.  And why not?  She is the former head of M15, Britain’s famed Security Service and I might add the first woman to hold that position.  She knows her territory well and brings a familiarity to it that few can muster.  Especially intriguing for this reader are the matters of investigative procedure which she details knowledgeably, concisely.  Thus, I joined a host of others in awaiting Rimington’s eighth story featuring British intelligence officer Liz Carlyle.  When it arrived I turned off my phone, closed the door, and read it from cover to cover.  What pleasure!

With Close Call we find Carlyle and her colleagues in the counter-espionage division facing their greatest challenge to date - uncovering the source of under-the counter arms trades in Yemen.  With the Arab world in a state of volatility the Brits are concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihadists are building a power base in preparation for an attack.  Rightly so.  And to make matters even worse the head of the CIA’s London station can prove that the weapons being smuggled into Yemen come from a connection in the UK.

Carlyle’s pursuit of the source of these arms deals takes her across the globe to Paris and Berlin. And perhaps the greatest shock of all is that the man she is after is a figure from her very own past.

In addition to Carlyle the author gives us a diverse and fascinating cast of characters.  Each is unique and captures attention as his or her part is played.  Close Call is prime spy fiction!


- Gail Cooke

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