St. Martin's, May 2004, 25.95, 400 pp.
Former burglar Tommy Carmellini now works for the CIA. His current assignment is to inspect security at the Greenbriar River Facility, a CIA safe house in the Alleghany Mountains in Virginia. When he reaches his destination, Tommy finds the complex under attack. He manages to kill a goon, rescuing translator Kelly Erlanger and a suitcase of KGB files.
Kelly informs Tommy that the resident of the safe house, former KGB archivist Mikhail Goncharov obviously had information that someone wants kept buried. Now someone wants Tommy and Kelly dead and willing to murder anyone associated with the operative including his partner Willie the Wire and his former lover Dorsey O'Shea, who just asked him to steal some porno tapes starring her. With the assailants in pursuit, Tommy, Kelly, and now Dorsey flee to Rehoboth Beach where retired Rear Admiral Jake Grafton offers temporary sanctuary while the team tries to sort out why someone wants them dead.
Carmellini in his first major appearance (bit player in CUBA) is an intriguing protagonist who provides an intriguing counterpoint to Stephen Coonts' prime superstar, Grafton. The story line is action-packed, but the conspiracy has been often told so it somewhat lacks freshness even with several interesting twists and a fine cast. LIARS AND THIEVES will entertain newcomers which the author's fan base will enjoy, but not at the quality of a Grafton led thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner