Andy McNab, Author . Pocket $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7434-0626-0

This is McNab's third Nick Stone novel, and when you factor in all the times that Stone is stalked, betrayed, mugged, drugged, beaten, frozen to within an inch of his life and nearly blown to bits, it's a wonder the stoic British ex-SAS (special forces) operative is still alive. In many ways, Stone is the perfect thriller hero: someone strong enough to absorb punishment, smart enough to game plan the details of the job and just enough of a line soldier not to ask too many questions about his assignment. Just to make sure, McNab (himself a former SAS agent) gives Stone the perfect reason not to be inquisitive: his ward, Kelly, is catatonic with post-traumatic stress disorder, and since her treatment is wildly expensive, Stone finds himself in the middle of a totally unprofessional kidnapping of Russian mafia kingpin Valentin Lebed in Helsinki. When it all goes violently wrong, Stone lets Lebed go for a price, and leaps at the chance to earn even more money when Lebed's attractive assistant, Liv, gives him another assignment: break into a Finnish safe house for a little software theft. It will come as no surprise that the theft puts Stone in the gunsights of the NSA and the Russian mob. Most of the novel is a record of Stone bouncing between a rock and a hard place, trying to complete his mission, avoid capture and stay alive, with McNab's real-life adventures the source for Stone's. In this genre, all plans are made to fail, except perhaps McNab's plan to take the thriller world by storm. (July)

Forecast:Because of his work for SAS, McNab cannot appear in public, so author tours are a no-go, but extensive advertising and promotion plans back up this solid thriller and will increase sales.

Reviewed on: 06/04/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
Open Ebook - 978-0-7434-8331-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 12 pages - 978-0-7540-0714-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 528 pages - 978-0-7434-0627-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 528 pages - 978-0-7704-2895-2
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-385-65877-5
Open Ebook - 576 pages - 978-1-4070-3968-8
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