cover image Burned: A Vanessa Pierson Novel

Burned: A Vanessa Pierson Novel

Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-15821-6

An overly familiar story line mars Plame and Lovett’s second novel featuring CIA agent Vanessa Pierson. Vanessa, who works for the CIA’s counterproliferation division, has an appointment to meet an asset, Farid, outside the Louvre in Paris. Farid could help her catch the international terrorist Bhoot, who eluded her in 2013’s Blowback. Instead of Farid, Vanessa spots a suicide bomber just before he blows himself up. Many bystanders are killed or injured, but not Vanessa. Later, Bhoot contacts her to claim that another organization was behind the explosion. Her path to determining whether Bhoot is being truthful follows well-trod terrain, including a mole hunt and a torrid relationship with a colleague that she endeavors to keep secret. Readers may be disappointed that Plame, who served in the same CIA unit as Vanessa, provides the kind of insider details to be found in any standard spy thriller. Agents: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary (Plame); Theresa Park, Park Literary (Lovett). (Oct.)