cover image Wolf's Head

Wolf's Head

J. K. Mayo, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $0 (255p) ISBN 978-0-87113-138-6

In this entertaining new thriller by the author of The Hunting Season, the Minister of Defence has been butcheredhis head severed, planted on a silver coaster to hold it upright and placed on his dining table. Colonel Harry Seddall, the heroic British agent, hears this from beautiful blond agent Sorrel Blake, who orders rare beef and new potatoes while bursting with the extraordinary news. Thereupon they climb into her Alfa Romeo and tool down the motorway at 120 mph. Seddall, a game, stouthearted chap, has a bad joke for every situation. He and the shadowy figures with whom he associates are relentlessly breezy and wisecracking, and the typical mode of speech in this parody of a kind of spy thriller is brusque, elliptical, enigmatic and exaggerated almost to a fault. The minister's death and others' must be accounted for, and no one is what he seems. What sinister force seeks to undermine the detente talksthe Russians? Albanians? Yugoslavians? Can it be the Americans? Mayo handles his plot in slick professional style, maintaining a fast pace and a cynical air. When blood has been shed and villains routed, the convolutions of plot and counterplot are just as gnarled as ever, a commentary on the tangled state of international politics. (June)