cover image Assassin’s Strike

Assassin’s Strike

Ward Larsen. Forge, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9156-8

Larsen’s fine sixth David Slaton novel (after 2019’s Assassin’s Revenge) opens in Damascus, Syria, at a secret meeting between President Petrov of Russia and the new Iranian president, Ahmed Rhamani. The Russian translator, Ludmilla Kravchuk, hears the two leaders discuss an impending chemical weapons attack, as does the Iranian translator, Sofia Aryan. When Sofia is murdered soon after the meeting, Ludmilla barely escapes a similar fate, and flees into hiding in Syria. Slaton, a former Mossad operative now attached to the CIA, has to find and deliver Ludmilla to friendly soil. Meanwhile, a chemical weapons cache discovered in Darfur is connected to Ahmed Sultan al-Majid, a messianic figure of obscure origins. Besides rescuing Ludmilla, Slaton must stop al-Majid from carrying out an attack that could upset the balance of power in the Middle East. Larsen discards vividly written supporting characters like spent ammunition clips, their sole purpose to propel the action to the clever and breathless climax. Fans will cheer Slaton every step of the way. Agent: Susan Gleason, Susan Gleason Literary. (Aug.)