Stephen L. Carter
Knopf, Jul 14 2009, $
In the Colorado Rockies, former CIA chief Jericho Ainsley lies dying from cancer. He asks in his royal demanding way for ex CIA operative Beck DeForde to come see him. Fifteen years ago, they began an affair that ended Jericho’s political power although he still had economic influence when the scandal broke. She assumes he wants to say good-bye.
Almost immediately upon entering the foreboding gigantic home, Beck learns that those who operate in the dark fear what Jericho will reveal to his former lover. Jericho explains he distrusts his family who would sell him out in death for a buck and the spy agencies who only care about polishing their tarnished images after selling out to the last president. He trusts only Beck to do the right thing about the information he plans for her to hold. Both understand what that means from the onset as others have come to this remote house high in the Colorado Rockies to take out two former agents and obtain the information Jericho possesses.
Switching from his complex societal legal thrillers (see THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK, NEW ENGLAND WHITE and PALACE COUNCIL) Stephen L. Carter provides a more standard type but exhilarating espionage thriller. The story line is fast-paced from the opening moment when Beck philosophizes that she is traveling to her past in more ways than just visiting her dying former lover whose career died along with hers when their tryst was exposed. She is a terrific heroine holding the exciting plot together while Jericho is the more complicated fascinating character. The author’s fans will appreciate this fine tale, but will also miss a revealing of the “dark secrets” behind the pivotal moments in history that the victors prefer to hide from the masses.