Soldier Boy

E. Scott Jones, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (359p) ISBN 978-0-312-11895-2
White-hat CIA knights spar with dastardly operatives of a reunited ``Soviet Russia'' in this overwritten what-if debut novel. Set mainly in Germany and Switzerland, it's a tale of double-agent spy games where stock spymasters embroil their renegade agent pawns in contorted plots of one-upmanship. The U.S. agents are trying to preserve world peace, of course, with a little help from the Mossad; their Russian foes want to extend their dominion, as deceitfully as possible. As the key player in ``operation Odyssey,'' a complex scheme to flush out a Russian mole in the CIA, Jack Calumet convinces his Russian handler that he is a legitimate double agent for hire. Odyssey aims at pushing Jack up the line of operators as close as possible to archnemesis ``Nishka,'' head of the new KGB and the main force behind the military hardliners who ousted Yeltsin's ilk to forge the new regime. The scheme brings Jack in contact with Vartanyan, a major assassin and gamesplayer equally intent on flushing a CIA mole out of the KGB-the exact bait Jack's masters are counting on to get Vartanyan to buy his story. All goes well until Karola, KGB agent and Vartanyan's mistress, vamps into the works to test Jack's weakest link. Undeterred, Jack pulls James Bond feats, with lots of action from CIA Delta Force watchdogs, to force a showdown on his terms. The Mossad supplies one too many convenient plot clues, and there are few real surprises here, but some readers will welcome the adroitly twisted plot and the old-fashioned moral certitudes evidenced by Jack Calumet, ``an American patriot through and through.'' (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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