cover image The Cloud Collector

The Cloud Collector

Brian Freemantle. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-06623-7

The in-depth knowledge of the espionage business that Freemantle (The Namedropper) brings to this fly-on-the-wall look at the technical and bureaucratic aspects of the spy world helps compensate for the novel’s lack of excitement. CIA officer Jack Irvine, who heads a mission known as Operation Cyber Shepherd, and his operators troll the “darknets” of cyberspace searching for terrorist groups. Once Irvine and company hack into these groups, they uncover attack plans, turn various terrorists against one another, and alert security agencies. Working with smart, stubborn British MI5 agent Sally Hanning, Irvine racks up several conspicuous successes—thwarting attacks on the Coliseum in Rome, a nuclear reactor in Sellafield, England, and the Washington Monument in the U.S.—but mastermind terrorist Ismail al Aswamy escapes. Irvine’s most dangerous foes are members of his own team and hostile politicians who need these government cyber warriors to cover their own asses. This realistic, disheartening thriller may be too downbeat for some fans of the genre. (Nov.)