by Andrew Kaplan
Six weeks out of a mission in the Soviet Union, and having turned freelance, former CIA agent codenamed Scorpion finds himself in Africa on a relief mission that turns deadly. In Switzerland, a hit team raids the American embassy and steals information listing names of government officials from various departments and agents…including Scorpion’s. The blame falls on Iran and as America gears up for possible war, Scorpion is pulled back into the espionage game to discover the truth. One enigmatic name surfaces: the Gardener. As Scorpion battles both time and enemy agents the discoveries he makes may determine not only the fate of himself, but they may have international repercussions.
I’ve read the previous Scorpion book and enjoyed it. This lot reminds me a lot of some of the old Ludlum plots. A big bad guy seeking domination and a lone agent hampered by his own people and the enemy seeking to discover the truth. Back when Ludlum was creating scenarios, it was Russians, Neo-Nazis, or a wealthy mogul seeking world domination a’la James Bond movies. Today, however, Arabs and Muslim terrorist groups are in the bad guy roles. Still the puzzle kept me reading.
Scorpion: real name is Nick, independent-for-hire agent, speaks multiple languages, gray eyes, scar over one eye, former Army Ranger and Delta Force, former CIA agent, mother died when he was a child
Scale: small stature, thin, over-sized hands
Sandrine Delange: French doctor, slim, attractive, chestnut hair, gold pupils surrounded by emerald green
Bob Harris: Scorpion’s former supervisor in CIA, sometimes wears glasses,
Typical. Each character uses speech and words fit for their background and Scprion fits in well with knowing the phraseology in each scene. Conversations don’t wander because there is so much action that dialogue is limited to giving the reader a slight rest between bullets flying.
Chapters are headed by location. Some profanity. Foreign words and phrases are translated. Action is quick and intelligent. Scorpion takes time to analyze but this only helps the reader appreciated the danger involved and the thinking doesn’t drag down the action. The time factor is a little difficult to handle other than in this book, time plays a factor because of the impending military action threatened. However, scenes begin with Scorpion already on site, not traveling so sometimes I didn’t know how much time had passed between scenes. Still, a fairly fast read with each chapter revealing a new bread crumb along the path.