cover image The Hidden Man

The Hidden Man

Charles Cumming. St. Martin’s Griffin, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-36638-4

First published in the U.K. in 2003, bestseller Cumming’s enjoyable second novel falls short of the high standard of his later spy thrillers such as 2012’s A Foreign Country. MI5 agent Stephen Taploe is investigating Russian mobster Viktor Kukushkin, who he suspects is laundering crime syndicate money through Libra, a popular London nightclub. Mark Keen, a manager at Libra, seems unaware of the money laundering. Mark is the oldest son of Christopher Keen, who worked for more than 20 years as an MI6 agent and is now employed by the security company Divisar Corporate Intelligence. Because Christopher abandoned his wife and family years before, another son, Ben, hates his father. But after Christopher is killed, Ben and Mark get pulled into the world of international espionage while searching for their father’s murderer. Cummings fans should be prepared for a rushed ending and a cast of characters who are almost uniformly unlikable. [em]Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit. (Nov.) [/em]