Codename Villanelle

Luke Jennings. Mulholland, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-51252-7
Superior prose and a cracker jack plot lift this exceptional spy thriller and series launch from Jennings (Beauty Story). Assassin Oxana Vorontsova, who was once a linguistics student at the University of Perm, is employed by someone she knows only as Konstantin, who works for a secret international organization called the Twelve, a dozen men who decide which evildoers who threaten the stability of the world should die. Three years earlier, Konstantin rescued Oxana from the Dobryanka women’s remand center in the Ural Mountains, where she was serving time for murdering three gangsters. After a year of intensive training, Oxana now goes by the code name Villanelle. After carrying out several assigned killings, she guns down Russian political theorist Viktor Kedrin in London, which brings her to the attention of former British MI5 agent Eve Polastri, who was in charge of protecting Kedrin. Eve slowly begins putting together the pieces of the Villanelle puzzle. The wide-open ending points to more to come in the struggle between these two resourceful antagonists. Readers will eagerly await the sequel. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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