Friends, Russians, and Countrymen

Hampton Howard, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (215p) ISBN 978-0-312-01432-2
A spy thriller with a steel base and whipped cream on top? Howard (War Toys) tries just that, and it works. CIA warhorse Edward Stuarti is called back from semi-retirement, in Paris, to close a complicated trap on a senior member of a top disarmament agency who is feeding information to the Russians. Seventy-year-old Stuarti is a flamboyant, arthritic ""old faggot'' with a devious mind and an Oscar Wilde mouth. He enlists his tough, 40-ish protege Tom Matthews to be point-man in a dangerous scheme to catch a ruthless East German who's already murdered twice to protect the Soviet agent. There's a possibility that Matthews, seriously involved with beautiful ex-agent Kate, may hit burn-out before he gets his man. Stuarti proceeds, in his insouciant way, to manipulate the FBI, CIA, Defense Department apparatchiks and, of course, the bad guys. His wily and outlandish plans end in bloody, hilarious triumph. The New York City background, convoluted plot and colorful characters all work nicely, but Stuarticrabby, tough, smart, totally outrageousis a brilliant creation. And Howard's depiction of bureaucratic Newspeak is delicious. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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