cover image The Exile

The Exile

Andrew Britton, Kensington, $25 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7582-4269-3

Near the start of Britton's uneven fourth spy thriller to feature ex-CIA agent Ryan Kealey (after The Invisible), Janjaweed militiamen brutally murder Lily Durant, an American nurse working at a refugee camp in Darfur and the niece of the U.S. president, David Brenneman. Gen. Joel Stralen, a close friend of Brenneman's who considers the CIA a rival to his own Defense Intelligence Agency, seizes the chance to sideline political rivals and to justify armed retribution against Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, suspected of ordering the attack on the camp. Meanwhile, CIA deputy director Jonathan Harper asks Kealey to investigate covertly. Kealey's quest for truth spans Africa, but few will be surprised when the operative finds answers closer to home. While Britton realistically portrays intelligence as a group effort, he doesn't make the best use of Kealey's time on stage, devoting a puzzling amount of space establishing his hero's credentials with a South African bodyguarding sequence. (July)