cover image The Terrorist

The Terrorist

Peter Steiner, . . Minotaur, $23.99 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37344-3

Steiner's brisk, sure-footed third spy thriller to feature 71-year-old ex-CIA agent Louis Morgan (after Le Crime and L'Assassin ) shows it's hard to outmaneuver an old dog. Happily retired in France, Morgan, who possesses “anti-American bona fides” and “was once thought to be a terrorist,” spurns the CIA's request to help in the so-called war on terror. The agency ratchets up the pressure on Morgan by falsely arresting a friend's 16-year-old son, Zaharia Lefort, who was studying in the U.S. In a brief yet compelling odyssey that takes him from France to Algeria to New Jersey, Morgan adroitly gives his handlers what they want—and brings the situation with Zaharia to a satisfactory resolution, all with a minimum of violence. Wickedly tight prose propels a plot that shows not one shred of fictional obesity. Sam Waterson's production company has optioned the previous two books, with Steiner, a former New Yorker cartoonist, writing the screenplay. (June)