Morning Spy, Evening Spy

Colin MacKinnon, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-35576-0

Mixing fact and faction effectively, MacKinnon chronicles the poignant personal story of a senior CIA agent, Paul Patterson, in the months before 9/11. Patterson has been investigating the assassination of an agency operative in Pakistan who had been on the trail of Osama bin Laden before the terrorist became a household name. The case leads Patterson to a disturbing chain of events—porous U.S. immigration policies, White House indifference, CIA bungling—that in hindsight provides the perfect set of circumstances for 9/11. At the same time, Patterson juggles a painful divorce after the accidental death of a teenage son. With this second novel (after 1985's Finding Hoseyn ), MacKinnon, a Middle East expert whose specialty is Iran, shows great insight into the inner workings of U.S. intelligence. His clipped prose style, descriptive discipline and tone-perfect dialogue elevate this thriller above the pack, though the central plot, stopping just short of 9/11, ends with more of a whimper than a bang. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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