cover image The Right Hand

The Right Hand

Derek Haas. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-19846-2

This hard-edged contemporary spy thriller from Haas (Dark Men) covers a lot of ground with great narrative economy. Austin Clay, “an intelligence officer for 15 years, six of those in black ops,” executes missions so secret that his CIA bosses will never acknowledge their existence. Clay goes undercover in Russia to bring back a missing fellow agent, Blake Nelson, who “was doing some very sensitive work near the Caspian Sea.” Clay’s superiors fear that the Russians have captured Nelson and may torture him into revealing U.S. intelligence. The case quickly spins beyond Clay’s control with the entry of a beautiful Hungarian woman and a stream of Russian hit men. The discovery of a mole in the CIA’s upper echelons raises the stakes. Forceful, cinematic scenes show off the lean grace of Hass’s prose. Cleverly placed plot twists and spycraft details help make this a standout. Readers will hope to see a lot more of Clay. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Nov.)