St. Martin's, Apr 2004, 24.95, 464 pp.
Liz Sansborough has come out of the cold to make a life for herself as a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She feels that her past as a CIA field operative and the daughter of the notorious Cold War assassin Carnivore is yesterday's news.
However, though she believes her heritage and work experience is ancient history, others disagree starting with an assault while riding her bicycle. Afterward, she learns that someone has kidnapped her cousin vacationing in Paris. The ransom is the lost files of Carnivore that allegedly contains numerous murders of prominent people. The problem for the beleaguered Liz is that she does not even know if they exist or are just an urban legend. As she reluctantly returns to her former occupation teaming up with British undercover agent Simon Childs, they begin to uncoil the Coil, but as they get closer to these bigwigs the danger rises and the death count grows.
Though one must wonder how Liz can go about her espionage work refusing to carry a gun in spite of swimming in a sea of red, fans will enjoy her sense of humor that surfaces at odd moments to lighten an intense story line. The plot moves at a rate faster than the speed of light so that even Robert Ludlum would be amazed. Espionage thriller fans will want to go along for the ride that returns a great protagonist (see MASQUERADE) whose past will not allow her to hide in the pillars of academia as she prefers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner