- Tom Rob Smith -
An interesting 'thriller' that kept me engaged right until the end. Then it faltered. The ending was a bit lackluster and felt too open ended. I guess I thought there would be more. However, the steps taken to get there more than made up for it.
I took this book out of the library b/c of my 'read books by Smith author's' challenge. It looked cool and sounded like a good spy novel so I gave it a whirl. The story starts with Leo, a secret police agent in communist Russia in the fifties. He has a chance encounter with this beautiful, intelligent lady and ends up marrying her. His life changes as he turns from a hardened agent into a family man of sorts. His wife and daughters makes a monumental trip to the US at the peak of the cold war on a goodwill soft-politics type mission and it all turns bad. The wife is murdered and there is a huge political incident. It is covered up and lies are told. From that point on in the book Leo's only mission in life is to find out how and who killed his wife.
We then find Leo in Afghanistan in the eighties, when Russia invaded. The problems they faced are the exact same one's reported by Nato forces today. From there he manages to defect and make his way to the US, closer to his goal of finding the killer.
In the US he uses some of his old undercover agent spy tricks to uncover what happened the night his wife was murdered. He manages to track down the exact person who was responsible for her death - Agent 6. He confronts him, almost kills him, then the book quickly wraps up with his return to Russia.
I really liked the progression of the story, it was a quick trip through a bit of communist Russia's history. I ended up liking Leo, even though he was a cold character. But, it was that ending that just left me hanging. Almost the entire book was Leo working towards a goal. Then when the goal was accomplished the book should have ended, but, it didn't. It dragged on for a bit too long; open ended, no goal, sad, a bit cliche?