cover image Zig Zag

Zig Zag

Noel Hynd. Zebra, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-3485-8

In Hynd's ( Revenge ) improbable but engaging scenario, a reporter threatens to release information deeply embarrassing to the CIA, and the result is a farrago of dirty tricks and murders. The hook that anchors the plot is a riddle that's put to tabloid obituary writer Paul Townsend by Leonard Wolik, a dying State Department official: what was the greatest conspiracy of the 1960s? Despite an attempt on his life, Townsend relates Wolik's allegations that an acting U.S. ambassador to France had been dismissed after trying to effect the defection of a KGB agent with the key to that secret. A pair of FBI agents turn up to request Townsend's notes on his conversation with Wolik, and a CIA official, Bruce McMorris, warns that any further inquiries would endanger U.S. relations with the Soviet Republic. Furthermore, McMorris reveals that Townsend had been talking to an impostor: the real Wolik had died years before. And it seems that the FBI agents were impostors, too. As Townsend tackles these questions, an assassin is busy eliminating the folks who might help answer them. The disappointing, mechanical resolution delivers a surprise that does not justify the lengthy buildup. (June)