A Line in the Sand

Gerald Seymour, Author Simon & Schuster $25 (400p) ISBN 978-0-684-85477-9
Cleverly observed smalltown social dynamics, brilliantly paced suspense and a plot driven as much by character as action prove again why English thriller writer Seymour (Dead Ground; The Journeyman Taylor) is a master of the form. Five years ago, Frank Perry was Gavin Hughes, sharp young salesman for an engineering manufacturing company and spy for the British government. As a spy, Perry successfully sabotaged Iran's chemical weapons industry. Forced underground, he has lived under an assumed identity for several years in a small English village on the coast of Suffolk. When Perry inadvertently betrays his whereabouts, Iranian agents locate him and dispatch their top hit man to kill him. Tipped off to the threat, the British Security Service tries to convince Perry to move away. He adamantly refuses, saying he's done running. The security service sends in a huge task force of armed guards to protect Perry and his wife and son. As the killerDcode name AnvilDbides his time hiding out in the surrounding marshland, Perry and his family find their lives turned upside down, first by the pushy demands of their bodyguards, then by the hostility of their friends and neighbors. One by one, the villagers turn against the family, whom they blame for putting them at risk. Seymour's depiction of village lifeDthe broken ambitions, the petty jealousies, the social cliquesDis drawn in such fine detail that the provincial milieu becomes a fascinatingly appropriate setting for a showdown between international combatants. The plot moves along with deceptive cool, relying on tension between characters, offscreen action and telling commentary about the shady world of foreign relations to create a rare, smart thriller. Agent, Peter Matson. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 509 pages - 978-0-552-14682-1
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Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-671-02530-4
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