The Henchman

Kjell-Olof Bornemark, Author Dembner Books $17.95 (215p) ISBN 978-0-942637-19-9
This is a masterful evocation of life in today's espionage world, where, with the Cold War essentially over, spying is done for money, not patriotism or ideology, and the targets may be industrial, not military secrets. Jonas Mikael Frey, a Swedish agent-in-place for the East Germans, awaits the trouble he expects after being instructed to assist an unnamed emissary. This man turns out to be a KGB assassin targeting one of Frey's own agents; Frey will be forced to assist in the killing of the agent (whose identity is concealed until the story's conclusion) and in the betrayal of another. The purpose of the mission, also hidden until the end, will surprise readers. While the action is spread across long stretches of the novel, Bornemark's skill with local detail and his persuasive characterizations build a powerful tension that is released in climactic murder and ironic betrayal--or several betrayals. More like Conrad's Secret Agent than Fleming's James Bond, Frey and the events in his life provide a glimpse of the psychology of those who place themselves under cover. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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