The Art of the Devil
It is 1955, and although America is at peace, not everyone in the halls of power is happy. A cabal of politicians and businessmen has decided that President Eisenhower, despite his role as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II, has gone soft on communism and needs to be taken out. Under the direction of a United States Senator, two assassins – one a disgruntled American veteran and the other a young woman who had been a trained killer in Nazi Germany – move in for the kill.
After the first two attempts fail, Emil Spooner, Chief of the Secret Service, brings in Francis Isherwood, an agent who’d been semi-retired after his battle with the bottle nearly washed him out of the service completely. Isherwood, Spooner knows, needs a second chance. He also knows that if there’s one thing that can drag Isherwood back from the brink, it’s being back in action. Isherwood feels more alive than ever when his battle instincts take over and his instincts are rarely wrong.
The only thing I did not like about this book was the title; it surely deserves something more imaginative. With lovely phrases and often beautiful writing – sometimes hard to find in political thrillers – Altman treats us to plenty of action while also giving us in-depth insights into the personalities and motivations of the characters. Highly recommended.