The Bottom Line: This emotionally gripping depiction of love, war and espionage is an excellent first installment in what is sure to be a terrific series. A must-read for fans of the hit TV show The Americans.
J.D. Wallace’s new spy thriller is based upon the relationship between a real-life CIA Clandestine Operations Officer and his wife, a Mossad Kidon Katsa (For the uninitiated, Kidon – “tip of the spear” in Hebrew – is the name of a department within Israel’s Mossad that is allegedly responsible for carrying out assassinations). When we’re first introduced to CIA operative Marcus Pantera, his children and wife – who is a legendary assassin – have just been killed by a car bomb in Tel Aviv. In one of Wallace’s most heart-wrenching scenes, the gutted widower lifts his daughter’s bicycle onto the heap of boxes, only to realize he’ll never be back for it. He tosses the key onto the roof of the storage facility, where it will no doubt remain.
Wallace then rewinds 16 years to the moment where Pantera and his future wife, Kat, meet in a ballroom. The spark between the two “cats” is instantaneous, joyous and crackling with intensity. Due to their respective professions, the relationship begins with a series of intentional deceptions. From there, we’re immersed in the complex dynamics of the fight against terror, with both the CIA and Mossad playing their parts. It’s a globe-trotting romp through Iraq, Greece, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere. As the story unfolds, it’s clear that someone is killing Kat’s fellow assassins.
Who is the Katsa Killer? Will Kat find the killer before it’s too late? Meanwhile, can Pantera locate the mole working for the Federal Reserve?
Thanks to Wallace’s first-rate story and electrifying prose, you’ll stay up long past your bedtime to find the answers to those questions. In particular, this genre-blurring book is a must-read for fans of the TV show The Americans, which has so expertly depicted the relationship between two spies that form a family.