cover image The Operative

The Operative

Andrew Britton. Kensington, $25 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7582-6351-3

Breakneck pacing compensates for lackluster prose in bestseller Britton’s two-fisted fifth thriller featuring ex-CIA agent Ryan Kealey (after 2010’s The Exile). When a terrorist bomb kills and injures dozens at a charity gala at the Baltimore (Md.) Convention Center, including the event’s keynote speaker, the wife of CIA deputy director John Harper, Harper asks Kealey to investigate. Kealey and his allies in the U.S. intelligence community soon figure out that the attack on Baltimore is but the opening salvo in a much wider plot that could lay waste to much of America. What could have been a paean to the utility of independent, borderline rogue agents becomes instead a morality tale about where unchecked idealism can lead. Britton’s ultimate championing of the rule of law and its checks and balances stands out in a field overpopulated by enthusiastically brutal protagonists and overworked ticking time-bomb scenarios. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (July)