cover image A Killing in Moscow

A Killing in Moscow

Clive Egleton. St. Martin's Press, $21.95 (346pp) ISBN 978-0-312-10487-0

British spy Peter Ashton, first seen in Hostile Intent , has now taken a career jump sideways, to head the Vetting, Security and Technical Services division of Britain's SIS. Still under a shadow of suspicion from his earlier adventure, still struggling with a by-the-book immediate superior, the 30-something Ashton is also still a bit of a loose cannon. Here, he's trying not to get involved with the Moscow murder of a British businessman, but his security expertise betrays him when he uncovers an unwilling Russian spy in Britain's trade liaison office in that city. The plot unfolds to offer bent KGB agents, a shadowy English entrepreneur, Serb oil buyers and a pillar-of-the-community businessman in Seattle with family ties to the Serbs. Egleton is a master at keeping the pot boiling, developing an intricate plot and moving his characters around with great dash and no little humor. Moreover, his characterizations are deft--whether of a frightened young Russian woman, her emotional father, who risks his life for her, a corrupt KGB killer or Peter's statuesque, slightly gauche new love interest. In its second installment, this series is on firm--and firmly enjoyable--footing. (Aug.)