cover image A Hostile State

A Hostile State

Adrian Magson. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5027-0

Magson’s engrossing fifth Marc Portman thriller (after 2017’s Dark Asset) finds deep cover intelligence specialist Portman in Lebanon on what’s supposed to be a simple assignment to pick up a memory stick from a source, until he comes under sniper fire. Portman escapes, but this is just the first in a string of near deadly attacks, which unbeknownst to him are being orchestrated from Moscow by a Russian intelligence unit being fed information on his whereabouts by a spy in Washington, D.C. Portman’s CIA handler, Brian Callahan, scraps the mission and tells Portman to link up with a local contact and exit Lebanon immediately. The contact, an MI6 field operative, is tasked with getting Portman out, and soon they’re on the run for their lives. Portman remains clueless who’s targeting him, but Callahan suspects a mole at the CIA is involved. The search for the mole and the continued attacks on Portman keep the suspense high. Readers will relate to the well-rounded, capable Portman, who never strays into superman territory as so many spy fiction heroes do. Agent: David Headley, DHH Literary (U.K.). (May)