cover image Truman's Spy

Truman's Spy

Noel Hynd. Zebra, $18.95 (344pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-3002-7

In early 1950 (Joe McCarthy cranking up his demagoguery, Stalin cranking up the Cold War and J. Edgar Hoover cranking up a witch-hunt), FBI agent Thomas Buchanan is assigned to investigate the father of former fiancee Ann Garrett, who jilted Buchanan in WW II. An attack on an FBI pal in Oregon, nasty doings in Hollywood, the murder of a Chinese man in Philadelphia, a Soviet ``sleeper'' in New York and a failed CIA operation in Europe are all tied to John Taylor Garrett, prominent Pennsylvania banker. As the book careens to a bloody, cynical finale, Buchanan finds himself in the middle of the Truman-Hoover power struggle and caught between Ann and her father. This potboiler's problems include lumbering, trite dialogue; failed attempts at period color (Boston did not beat Cleveland in the 1948 World Series); not playing fair with readers ( two fake deaths) and flat characterization (Truman and Hoover are cheap caricatures). Hynd ( Revenge ) has failed to put enough salt in this stew. $75,000 ad/promo. (Feb.)