Damascus Station

David McCloskey. Norton, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-393-88104-2
CIA case officer Sam Joseph, the hero of former CIA analyst McCloskey’s exhilarating debut, aims to recruit Mariam Haddad, an official who works at Damascus’s Syrian Palace, in Paris. At a diplomatic party, Sam rescues Mariam, who’s part of a Syrian government delegation, from the unwanted attentions of another guest, and they agree to meet for a drink the next evening. Mariam becomes a CIA asset, Sam teaches her the tradecraft she needs to operate without detection under the watchful eyes of her palace superiors, and they begin an illicit love affair. Sam follows Mariam to Damascus, where the plan is to hunt down a brutal pair of brothers, palace officials who kidnapped and killed an American spy. Their mission expands to deal with a larger threat. McCloskey portrays the brutal inner functioning of the Assad regime, as well as the CIA’s occasional ineptitude, while detailing such elements of spy craft as avoiding tails, maximizing dead drops, and operating safe houses. Refreshingly, as shown in the relationship between Sam and Mariam, he dares to be sentimental. Espionage fans will eagerly await his next. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, ICM/Sagalyn. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/14/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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