cover image An Honorable Man

An Honorable Man

Paul Vidich. Atria/Bestler, $24 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1038-2

Set in Washington, D.C., in 1953, Vidich’s well-written first novel is long on atmosphere but short on narrative momentum. George Mueller, who’s at a turning point in his CIA career, feels his sense of purpose, forged during WWII, is being eroded, but he has a real mission: looking for a traitor within the CIA known by the code name Protocol. The agency has identified 20 suspects, and the plan is to turn a Russian agent to help find the spy. This promising setup gets bogged down in a morass of plotting, including a longish digression about a senator resembling Joseph McCarthy. The pace picks up in the latter third of the book when the backstory and description give way to an intelligent, old-fashioned spy thriller. Fans of John le Carré will appreciate the backroom, clubby old-boy network that seemed to define spying in the 1950s. Vidich, a founder and publisher of the Storyville App, discusses his historical sources in an informative afterword. Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Apr.)