cover image Beirut Station: Two Lives of a Spy

Beirut Station: Two Lives of a Spy

Paul Vidich. Pegasus Crime, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-639-36511-1

This taut, nuanced spy thriller centered on Lebanese American CIA agent Analise Assad further establishes Vidich (The Matchmaker) as a new master of the genre. During the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, Analise is assigned to a joint mission by the CIA and Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, to assassinate Hezbollah militant Najib Qassem. After she aborts the original operation to avoid killing bystanders, she must formulate a new plan to eliminate Qassem before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Beirut to broker a cease-fire. Posing as a UN interpreter, Analise infiltrates Qassem’s inner circle as a volunteer at the school his children attend. As the timeline of Analise’s plan and Rice’s arrival converge, she becomes the target of terrorist bombings, Israeli retaliation, and even a treacherous CIA mole, all while struggling not to fall for the New York Times reporter she’s seduced in attempts to throw him off her scent. Vidich ably describes daily life in a war-torn setting and convincingly highlights the dangers Analise faces as a woman in her position. He brings the action to a satisfying conclusion but leaves a few threads dangling, opening the door for future installments. Fans of Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carré will be eager for more. Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Oct.)