cover image The Mulberry Bush

The Mulberry Bush

Charles McCarry. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $26 (320) ISBN 978-0-8021-2410-4

The unnamed narrator of this exceptional spy novel from McCarry (The Shanghai Factor) vows to avenge his father, a disgraced secret agent. The narrator engineers his own recruitment into “Headquarters” (McCarry’s name for the CIA) and, after training, begins his career as a covert agent, hunting and killing terrorists in the Middle East, though he never forgets his chief purpose in life: exacting retribution on those responsible for his father’s downfall. Amzi Strange, the deputy director for operations and his father’s former enemy at Headquarters, brings the narrator back home, where he decides to implement his plan by infiltrating the remains of a terror organization in Latin America that was led by the charismatic Alejandro Aguilar. The narrator begins an affair with Aguilar’s 29-year-old daughter, Luz, and eventually they marry. McCarry spins his riveting story in unexpected ways; the writing is always subdued but brilliant, leading unsuspecting readers to collide straight into the unforgiving wall of a stunning ending. In a cover blurb, Lee Child says, “Charles McCarry is better than John le Carré.” Many thriller fans will agree. (Nov.)