cover image Blood of the Albatross

Blood of the Albatross

Ridley Pearson. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (307pp) ISBN 978-0-312-08448-6

This second thriller by the author of Never Look Back has lots of potential but never manages to catch fire. The book opens crisply with the murder of a CIA agent in Germany who has passed information about a mole in the FBI to a courier, a woman agent who must evade capture. The plot turns sluggish when it shifts to Seattle where a middle-level FBI man becomes a pawn in a ruse to gain sensitive military secrets. Innocently caught in the intrigue is Jay Becker, a rock musician and sailor, who is hired to teach a young German woman how to handle a boat. Becker falls for the woman, an electronics expert, who, he learns, is being used by the spy ring to assess the material being received. The book is best when the author crosscuts back to Europe and the CIA courier's escape with the information, but the bulk of the action is padded, slowing the narrative pace. (August 1)