Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dance with the Dragon-David Hagberg

Dance with the Dragon
David Hagberg
Forge, Sep 2007, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765308344

Retired CIA director turned guest professor at the University of Southern Florida Kirk McGarvey is assigned to lead the investigation into the shooting death of CIA agent Louis Updegraf; who was murdered at the entrance to the American embassy in Chihuahua, Mexico. Louis’ last operation was wiretapping into the Chinese embassy, but none of his superiors apparently know who assigned him or why.

Kirk quickly finds a link between Iran and China in Mexico, but the connection is the dead American spy. His clues lead him to Iranian belly dancer Shahrzad Shadmand, but her lies send Kirk down false paths. The former CIA head also follows clues that focus on Chinese espionage agent General Liu, who resides in his country’s compound in Mexico City where he arranges for galas attended by North American diplomats who appreciate his juvenile whores. Still Kirk is unable to learn what Louis sought, but he knows the veteran agent would not go fishing unless something big is coming and besides the enemy would not murder him unless they need time to accomplish this big incident. With a creepy déjà vu premonition, Kirk fears another 9/11 level terrorist event is being executed.

This is a superb espionage thriller that will have the audience wondering along side of the hero what is going on as red herrings and triple crosses are the norm. The fast-paced story line grips the reader once Kirk begins to connect the Iranian belly DANCE WITH THE DRAGON from China, but is unable to figure out any of the whys. The climax is terrific as it provides closure yet sets up the next story; which is going to be the only complaint – waiting for the follow-up to this stupendous saga.

Harriet Klausner

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