cover image The Rat Machine

The Rat Machine

Kent Harrington. Market Street (, $24.95 trade paper (672p) ISBN 978-0-9858083-1-0

CIA operatives Alex Law and Butch Nickels, previously paired in Harrington’s The Good Physician (2008), begin their association in this sprawling, cynical thriller that opens in 1980 and includes a backstory involving Nazi Germany. High-ranking CIA career agent Malcolm Law sends his young, rebellious son, Alex, and unbalanced Vietnam vet Butch on a mission that includes masquerading as big-time heroin dealers in L.A.; finding Sonny Delmonico, the Sicilian Mafia’s drug contact; and helping smuggle top East German scientist Christophe Neizert into the U.S. The pair’s ultimate goal, however, is to stop a vast network, formed by former Nazi general Reinhard Gehlen, that has penetrated every major intelligence agency in the world. Harrington shows that motives both venal and heroic fuel his overstuffed supporting cast, while jazzy prose frames the full-throttle trail of violence left by the nominally heroic but frequently unhinged Alex and Butch. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (Jan.)