cover image The Davis Cup Conspiracy

The Davis Cup Conspiracy

Jack Bickham / Author Forge $22.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-85727

Bickham earns a high seed on the suspense circuit with this exciting addition to his quirky series featuring full-time seniors tennis pro and part-time CIA agent Brad Smith ( Double Fault ). The Company arranges for Smith to captain America's Davis Cup team in the qualifying matches in an unstable, fictional Venezuela, where guerrilla leader Ramon Abrego is threatening the regime of U.S.-backed President Angel Soto. Using the torture-murder by Abrego forces of one Smith's old spy buddies as leverage, the CIA pressures the tennis star into looking into rumors of an impending coup as well as into possible ties between the rebels and Richard Diaz, a Davis Cup board member from one of the country's wealthiest families. Traveling south, Smith faces a coup of his own from his team of squabbling tennis pros, each of whom has a problem that might cost the match, but he finds some solace when his old CIA colleague--and lover--Linda Bennett turns up and reheats their cooled romance. When Linda is kidnapped by rebel forces, Smith is stymied in rescuing her, then is snatched himself and joins her as a prisoner in Abrego's camp. Back in Caracas, civil unrest threatens to topple the government until Smith and Linda engineer a tricky move that calls in U.S. forces. The plagued Davis Cup play resumes; Smith and company volley to a close-call finish. Telling his story in first- and third-person chapters, Bickham deftly flips from tennis lore to the spying game in his customary style, nailing another ace. (July)