30 Booklist August2017 www.booklistreader.com
been assumed that she jumped from the cliff
behind their school. For decades, Louise has
been terrified that her role in Maria’s disappearance would be discovered, and now a
person claiming to be Maria is stalking her,
bent on retribution. Could Maria have somehow survived? Or is she being terrorized by
her ex, Sam, who knows Louise’s secret. When
Louise’s friend Sophie is murdered, Louise
recognizes that she is in danger several different ways. A strong thriller debut featuring a
compelling protagonist whose self-discovery
and mounting paranoia create gripping suspense. —Christine Tran
Friends and Traitors.
By John Lawton.
Oct. 2017. 352p. Atlantic Monthly, $26
(9780802127068); e-book, $26 (9780802189219).
Our fascination with the Cambridge Five—
British spies recruited to serve the Soviet
Union while still at university—continues
unabated into the twenty-first century; re-Kim Philby, the most famous of the group,
to the others, including Guy Burgess, perhaps the most compelling character of the
lot. Lawton uses the latest
installment in his celebrated
Inspector Troy series to offer
a beguiling interpretation of
Burgess’ life both before and
after his defection in 1951.
Although Burgess’ spying
was nearly as much of an
open secret as his homosexuality, at least among his drinking buddies,
who included Troy, the eventual defection
of the Cambridge group remained an enormous black mark for Britain in 1958, when
this story begins with Burgess approaching
Troy with a plea: “I want to come home.”
No easy trick when you’ve been a key player
in what a diplomat friend of Troy’s calls “the
3-D Technicolor cock-up of the twentieth
century.” With the action jumping back and
forth between the late 1950s and the war
years, Lawton traces Burgess’ flamboyant life
as a dissolute and indiscreet diplomat whose
wit and charm somehow managed to shine
through the alcoholic haze that constantly
enveloped him. Inevitably, Troy’s attempts to
set up Burgess’ re-defection back to Britain
go terribly wrong, but Lawton manages to
generate considerable suspense in the setup,
even though we know Burgess won’t be coming in from the cold. Throughout, Burgess
emerges as a thoroughly engaging antihero—a traitor, yes, but also a victim of the
British government’s abiding homophobia.
A Legacy of Spies.
By John le Carre.
Sept. 2017. 272p. Viking, $28 (9780735225114).
Longtime le Carré readers have noticed
for years the disconnect between the early
novels, in which George Smiley, despite his
overwhelming sense of moral ambiguity,
never stopped believing in the necessity of
espionage, and the later novels, in which the
intelligence business has been poisoned from
within. What, we’ve often wondered, would
the stoop-shouldered Smi-
ley make of today’s world?
Finally, le Carré gives us
the answer, bringing back
Smiley to, in effect, stand
trial in absentia as the Brit-
ish Secret Service launches a
of Operation Windfall, the
events of which were detailed in le Carré’s
breakthrough novel, The Spy Who Came in
from the Cold (1963).
Smiley himself only appears briefly at the
end of this tale, leaving his loyal assistant, Peter
Guillam, to carry the water through a series of
demeaning interviews with the service’s new
breed of ass-covering flunkies, all on high alert
when the threat of legal action erupts. That’s not
Peter’s only problem: the son of Alec Leamas,
the spy whose attempt to come in from the
cold ended at the Berlin Wall, wants to extract
a pound of flesh from Guillam’s aging hide.
The real focus here, though, is on the past, as
Guillam remembers the events of Windfall and
its aftermath, giving the ass-coverers one ver-
sion while agonizing over what really happened
and pondering the ultimate Cold War ambigu-
ity: “How much of our human feeling can we
dispense with in the name of freedom, would
you say, before we cease to feel either human
or free?” Those who have followed le Carrè’s
career will relish the opportunity to revisit that
enduring conundrum. —Bill Ott
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Spurred by
publicity proclaiming the return of George
Smiley, spy-novel devotees won’t want to
miss this one.
Lie to Me.
By J. T. Ellison.
Sept. 2017. 432p. MIRA, $26.99 (9780778330950);
e-book, $9.99 (9781488025143).
Ethan Montclair, Hollywood handsome
and blessed with a killer Brit accent, wrote
literary novels until writer’s block stalled
him. He’s married to Sutton, “a Botticelli
angel, carved of ivory,” who writes pop novels that haul in the money. Is Ethan jealous?
Most likely, and that’s just one of the hurts
that surface when Ethan finds a note from
his wife. She’s gone. “Don’t look for me.”
This overfilled, emotional, and immensely
readable domestic thriller catalogs a marriage
gone wrong. In lush prose divided into “then”
and “now” chapters, we learn that Ethan may
have killed the couple’s child. A neighbor
swears Ethan abused Sutton. He drank too
much. They both did. Menacing phone calls
and e-mails arrive after her disappearance,
and a police computer whiz traces them back
to Ethan. Police officer Holly Graham is the
only one who senses something is wrong with
the case the police are building, and her persistence exposes the Iago at the heart of the
mystery. —Don Crinklaw
By Michael Gregorio.
Sept. 2017. 176p. Severn, $27.99 (9780727887221);
Italian park ranger Sebastiano Cangio
(Think Wolf, 2016) returns in another menacing thriller set in Umbria. Wolves are his
passion and being a park ranger is his love,
but Seb dabbles in crime solving and has a
way of finding himself on the radar of some
very bad people. A year ago, he was nearly
killed by a member of the ’Ndrangheta, Calabria’s version of the Mafia, and six months
ago the gang tried again. Now, he’s back
in the ’Ndrangheta’s sights because his old
nemesis, Captain Lucia Grossi of the special
crimes squad, co-opts Seb to help her with
a case involving the murder of a man at
London Stansted Airport. The man flew in
from Italy, and Scotland Yard wants Grossi
to know what he was doing in the country
and whether his reason for being there led to
his murder. What no one knows is that the
case revolves around the fact that the local
head of the ’Ngrangheta is losing his sight,
and he’s desperate to keep from going blind.
Gregorio offers up a nightmarish plot, white-knuckle suspense, and believable characters
in this gripping thriller. —Emily Melton
By Iris Johansen.
Oct. 2017. 384p. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250075857);
e-book, $14.99 (9781466887237).
The best-selling Johansen employs a distinctive formula: energetic and extensive dialogue,
steady pacing, and a seemingly bottomless
whirlpool of emotion and romantic suspense.
The reader never knows just what to expect
from her multifaceted characters, many of
whom are gifted with extraordinary, sometimes
paranormal, talents. In this twenty-first book
in the Eve Duncan series, Jane MacGuire, Eve’s
adopted daughter, plans to return to Scotland
to resume her search for a lost ancient treasure,
all the while beset by dreams of a girl in danger.
She names her Lisa and creates detailed sketch-es from memory, hoping that the background
scenery will provide a clue as to where she is
being held. Meanwhile, Seth Caleb comes
back into Jane’s life. This time Jane must rescue
him and, in the process, comes to realize that
treasure comes in many forms. Amid all of the
adventure and intrigue is an ecstatic Eve, who
has been doubly blessed with a son and the
special psychic bond that has grown between
them. Fans will enjoy the opportunity to revisit
Johansen’s much-loved cast. —Jane Murphy
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new Eve
Duncan translates immediately to big sales
and a satisfied audience.
By Michael Brandman.
Sept. 2017. 26.95p. Poisoned Pen, $26.95
(9781464208041); paper, $15.95 (9781464208065).
Hollywood writer-producer Brandman is
one of the writers anointed by the estate of
Robert B. Parker to continue the legendary au-