cover image Scorpion Deception

Scorpion Deception

Andrew Kaplan. Harper, $9.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-0-06221-965-7

In the enticing fourth installment to Kaplan's spy series (after Scorpion Winter), the illusive "Scorpion", code name for an ex-CIA operative turned independent agent, investigates a deadly attack on the American embassy in Bern, Switzerland, with few clues and no witnesses left behind. Orchestrated by a shadowy figure with unclear allegiances known only as "the Gardener", the perpetrators steal classified lists of aliases and photographs of CIA undercover operatives in Europe and the Middle East. Scorpion, whose true identity is compromised, spends the novel hunting or hunted by the ruthless Gardener, "as dangerous an adversary as he had ever faced," while the U.S. prepares, with shaky evidence, to declare war on Iran. For lovers of espionage and intrigue, the thriller overflows with coded messages, universal keys, and Krav Maga, while a dangerous side story involving Scorpion's lover Sandrine, a French doctor based at a Kenyan refugee camp, reminds of the daily tragedies affected by political machinations and power plays. Packed with action, however improbable, the plot is propelled by modern anxieties about America's potential for war with Iran and complicated by Scorpion's increasing despondency that even to know him is "lethal". Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (June)