Counterparts

Gonzalo Lira, Author
Gonzalo Lira, Author Putnam Publishing Group $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-14312-0
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-515-12429-3
Hardcover - 978-0-399-14361-8
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The first three quarters of this debut novel are first-rate: fast-paced, intricately plotted and peopled by interesting, often quirky characters. Chief among them is Margaret Chisholm, an FBI agent and single mom with a terrifying temper that has earned her a rep in the bureau and the sobriquet, Dirty Harriet. Margaret unwillingly teams up with Nick Denton, a CIA agent and novelist whose secret data-gathering effectively supports his own agency within the Company. They're paired after a bomb explodes in a New Hampshire chapel full of nuns affiliated with the controversial and conservative Catholic organization, Opus Dei. The blast kills everyone in the chapel except Sister Marianne, the nun in charge of restoring the Vatican's Catacombs, who seems to have been the bomb's target. The young terrorist-for-hire behind the bombing tries several times to kill the feisty, resourceful Margaret and meek Sister Marianne. Or does he? Lira throws in more than one turn of the screw too many, as revelations and reversals that are meant to jolt merely fizzle when major players abruptly change character. Still, Lira has a good eye for the ironies of inter- and intra-agency struggles, and he has a talent for big plot set-ups and action scenes. Rights sold in the U.K., France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Latin America. (Jan.)
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