Black Valentine

Patricia Sargent, Author Crown Publishers $18.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-517-56962-7
This well-crafted, albeit somewhat old-fashioned thriller by the author of Mortal Encounters opens with a flashback to Prague, August 20, 1968. As the Russians are invading Czechoslovakia, Karl Novotny, the CIA's chief operative there, breaks into secret police headquarters, photographs top-priority files and hides the film before he's captured. Twenty years later, Karl Novotny has escaped and both Soviet and American intelligence suspect he's headed for New York to join his children, Paul, a CIA agent, and Hana, an illustrator, who fled Czechoslovakia the night of the invasion. Almost simultaneously, Colonel Sergei Makarov, a high-ranking Soviet officer, announces he will defect, demanding a cool $2 million up front, and asking to be brought in by Paul Novotny. When both he and Paul Novotny disappear, the CIA suspects foul play. One member of the American intelligence community is particularly apprehensive. A mole for the Soviets, he suspects that his cover will be blown when Novotny surfaces. He, the Americans and the Soviets are all keeping an eye on the beautiful Hana Novotny to see if and when she will lead them to her father and two-decades-old secrets. The details of this espionage caper are imaginatively plotted, and all the loose ends are skillfully woven together in an exciting climax. (September)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Hardcover - 466 pages - 978-0-7089-2257-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-55817-548-8
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