cover image Doublespeak


Alisa Smith. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-09785-9

Smith’s intricate sequel to 2017’s Speakeasy examines the political and cultural milieu of the tumultuous period immediately after WWII. As Lena Stillman, a Canadian code-breaker for the Office of Strategic Services, “the innocuous name for the wartime spy agency of the United States,” observes: “From my front-row seat in decryption, I knew that allegiances were shifting by the hour. The war was moving from the battlefield to the backrooms. No nation, or person, was permanently classed as friend or enemy.” Lena learns the truth of that statement firsthand when she receives word that Corporal Link Hughes, who has been presumed dead, is in Siam, and in danger from Russian agents. She sets off to the Far East and a meeting with Bill Bagley, a kingpin in the burgeoning Siamese opium trade, who she believes has information about Hughes. Chapters alternate between those told from Lena’s point of view and that of her friend Byron Godfrey, who works for Bagley. Smith regales the reader with a tale of adventure and intrigue, meticulously anchored in its place and time. [em]Agent: John Pearce, Westwood Creative Arts (Canada). (Apr.) [/em]