""If, on an early summer's night, you wanted to kill a man, how would you do it? Read more...
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""If, on an early summer's night, you wanted to kill a man, how would you do it? Would you lay a trap, sharpen a dagger, uncork a poison?"
"Personally, I've always leaned toward the dramatic. "
"But looking back, I wonder now if the events of last summer didn't begin with a quieter sort of murder.""
So ponders Alexandra James, a beautiful, driven, yet troubled New England Chronicle reporter. She is assigned to cover the death of Thom Carlyle, son of one of the most powerful men in Washington. Just back from a year abroad, Thom falls from the top of a Harvard bell tower on a warm summer night. Did he jump, or was he pushed? For Alex James, who can get in anywhere, sleep with anyone, out-drink and out-shop her demons, it is the story of a lifetime. As she chases leads from Harvard Yard to the courtyards of Cambridge, England, to a clandestine rendezvous in London, to the inside of a nuclear terrorist network...the intrigue seems to suit her.
But nothing is what it seems. When she arrives back in Washington, DC, for a key interview that promises to tie together the leads she has puzzled out, Alex the hunter becomes Alex the hunted. An assassin is dispatched...Her laptop disappears...Her phone is tapped...And she begins to grasp that Thom Carlyle may have been killed to hide a terrifying conspiracy within the White House itself. Former NPR Intelligence correspondent Mary Louise Kelly has turned her own real-life reporting adventures into fiction with this stylish spy thriller.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-22
- Reviewer: Staff
NPR and BBC reporter Kelly's debut thriller about a terrorist sleeper cell with its sights on American annihilation rings eerily prescient in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The story begins with the mysterious death of Harvard graduate Thom Carlyle, who appears to have been shoved out of a window from the bell tower of the university's Eliot House. The incident sparks the attention of Alexandra James, a feisty reporter for The New England Chronicle, and takes her to the hallowed halls of England's Cambridge University, the highest levels of the Central Intelligence Agency and the underbelly of the White House. She chases zany, seemingly disparate leads that include "meeting men masquerading as English cricket players for tea, and swapping banana-bread recipes with loopy landladies, and stalking fruit exporters in Pakistan." But James eventually uncovers a plot that could lead to dire national security consequences — all the while battling her own inner demons. Kelly's years as a political writer and intelligence correspondent covering wars, terrorism and nuclear powers have served her well, and she portrays James with authority in a smart, fun voice that will stir lust and envy among readers. The author leaves open a window on the final page that suggests a sequel much to the reader's delight. (June)