cover image The Bootlegger: An Isaac Bell Adventure

The Bootlegger: An Isaac Bell Adventure

Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. Putnam, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-16729-4

The Prohibition era provides the backdrop for bestseller Cussler’s spirited seventh Isaac Bell adventure (after 2013’s The Striker, also coauthored with Scott), in which Comintern agents scheme to take over America. Soviet operator Marat Zolner has set up a bootlegging business on the East Coast designed to reap massive profits to fund the Bolshevik plot. Using a powerful, well-armed speedboat named Black Bird, Zolner and his cronies wreak havoc on rumrunners and the U.S. Coast Guard alike. After Joseph Van Dorn, founder of New York’s Van Dorn Detective Agency, gets shot up in a running gunfight on the high seas, Isaac, Van Dorn’s chief detective, takes control of the investigation, which ranges around the world before the final, fiery confrontation with Zolner back in New York. Early books in this series were near parodies of period potboilers, but more recent entries will impress thriller readers as laudable historical action novels. Agent: Peter Lampack, Peter Lampack Agency. (Mar.)