cover image Perfect Shot

Perfect Shot

Steve Urszenyi. Minotaur, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-87910-3

Urszenyi’s fun-but-formulaic debut sets FBI agent Alexandra “Alex” Martel on a high-stakes quest to recover a stolen nuclear bomb before it destroys Paris, where world leaders have gathered for an annual “Peace Summit.” Alex, a combat medic turned sniper turned FBI agent, learns from Interpol that her old friend, a British intelligence officer, has been killed in the City of Light, and uncovers the impending nuclear plot by decoding a message left in the woman’s personal effects. Alex’s warnings are met with eye rolls and scorn from her fellow agents, until a team of Russian operatives succeeds in lifting a nuclear bomb from the U.S. Air Force base in Incirlik, Turkey. With a CIA colleague in tow, Alex launches a whirlwind chase for the nuke, which leads to several rip-roaring action set pieces, including a well-choreographed air attack and a sweat-inducing pursuit of the bomb and its handler in the Paris catacombs. Urszenyi’s characters are a bit stiff, and his dialogue can feel flat-footed, but he nails a golden thriller rule on his first try: give readers enough action to chew on, and they’ll eagerly turn the pages. Urszenyi is a writer to watch. (Nov.)