cover image Crossfire


David Hagberg. Tor Books, $21.95 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85162-0

The Paris CIA station is bombed just as the U.S. returns long-frozen bank assets to Iran--in the form of 125 tons of gold. A coincidence? Not when the evidence points to ex-CIA agent Kirk McGarvey. Not when a KGB starved for funds under Gorbachev calculates the uses it could make of the treasure. And not when top KGB killer Arkady Kurshin is ready to betray his own service in order to see McGarvey dead. Hagberg recycles the central characters from Countdown in a contemporary secret-agent thriller, with settings that range from Buenos Aires to Teheran. The novel's dizzying pace is sustained at some sacrifice of clarity and credibility: a secondary plot taking McGarvey and German/Argentinean beauty Maria Schimmer in pursuit of a hoard of Nazi gold is poorly integrated with a main story line that has the Russians changing policies in an unnecessarily random fashion. But Hagberg is a master of the action scene, and readers will cheerfully follow him from episode to episode, eager to see how he extracts his characters from a succession of apparently hopeless predicaments. (June)