cover image The Agent Runner

The Agent Runner

Simon Conway. Arcade, $24.99 (312p) ISBN 978-1-62872-599-5

In this hard-nosed thriller from Steel Dagger Award–winner Conway (A Loyal Spy), a British agent tries to redeem himself after a professional miscalculation. Set primarily in Pakistan, the plot focuses on MI6 handler Ed Malik’s supervision of a spy code-named Nightingale, now in his fourth year of infiltrating Pakistan’s ISI security service. Malik’s bosses, however, blame him for not knowing about the American mission to steal into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden. Called home and eventually dismissed, Malik takes a job in a freight office and falls in love with the owner’s daughter. Meanwhile, he’s plotting his return to MI6, and eventually the opportunity arises. He flies to Lahore for one final mission, this time to take out Pakistan’s legendary spymaster, Maj.-Gen. Javid Aslan Khan, known as the Hidden Hand. Conway, a former British army officer, excels at capturing the brutality and duplicity of the ways of espionage. Many of his scenes, particularly late in the story, are disturbingly realistic, with magnetism that plays out before your unblinking eyes. (Jan.)