A Matter of Revenge
In 1956, 26-year-old American Superagent John Apparite botches an assassination in London. He is a CIA assassin, hand-picked by the Director. During World War II Apparite’s father, an ordinary soldier, saved the Director’s life at the cost of his own. The Director, then an OSS operative, made it a point to keep an eye on the soldier’s son. However, turning this son into an assassin seems a dubious method of repayment. Apparite gets a second chance to complete his London assignment and pursues his SMERSH nemesis to Berlin. On his way to Berlin, Apparite meets a beautiful East Berliner who works for the Russians; they begin a relationship, fall in love, and he helps her to defect to the West. Since childhood Apparite has had one passion that he shared with his father—they were both fans of the Washington Senators major league baseball team. This detail is provided, perhaps, to humanize the hero, but it interferes with the pace of the narrative.
Mr. Koontz has created a complicated hero, thoroughly believable as an assassin and much more sympathetic than Frederick Forsyth’s Jackal. However, the novel in places is uneven. There are times when the action proceeds at a breathless pace, but when the back story is provided, it is too long and detailed to sustain the momentum.