cover image Requiem for a Glass Heart

Requiem for a Glass Heart

David Lindsey. Doubleday Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-42312-0

Lindsey (An Absence of Light) has long ruled that grim land where acts of despicable evil can be committed by people for whom readers' hearts are breaking. This masterful amalgam of high-level espionage and emotional terrorism, his finest novel to date, only extends his reign. At first sight, Irina Ismaylova seems a walking fantasy--cool, beautiful, exotically Russian and able to pose topless while blowing away two ""targets."" But she is also a slave to vicious mafiya czar Sergei Krupatin, who has controlled Irina for three years by kidnapping her only daughter and keeping her in an undisclosed location in Russia. In Houston, meanwhile, widowed FBI operative Cate Cuevas has learned that her agent husband, Tavio, died in bed with a woman who set him up in Italy. Reeling from the news, Cate accepts an undercover job that places her at an underworld summit in McAllen, Texas, attended by Krupatin as well as Asian and Sicilian crime lords. As the sinuous plot advances, the meeting of these two resourceful, wounded women becomes inevitable. Their sympathetic--and erotic--responses to each other generate several high-speed plot switchbacks that leave the criminals and the FBI many steps behind. No recent thriller has so clearly pointed up that, in criminal and law enforcement hierarchies, a woman is still expected to do her most useful work in bed--and none has so cleverly debunked that ethic. On a far more wrenching level, Lindsey also provides a profoundly affecting portrait of those whose lives are spent on the dark cusp between survival and annihilation. (May)