Mysterious Book Report  The Night AgentThe Night Agent by Matthew Quirk

William Morrow/Harper Collins, $26.99, 422 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-287546-4

To all of our readers out there in newslandia, bookreviewburg, or elsewhere, lost somewhere in the electronic haze, who think that all the great spy and thriller novels ended with the deaths of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy . . . they didn’t.  And, if you think you’ll just have to be satisfied with those cloned copies, written by second-rate writers ‘licensed by the estate of,’ and pimped by the publishers in hopes of squeezing a few more bucks out of the old cash cow . . . you don’t.  There’s a ton of great new talent out there, and this week’s MBR features one of the best of that new breed.  His name is Matthew Quirk, and his latest work, The Night Agent, is an all-out, full throttle thrill ride from the first sentence on the first page.  It’s drawn rave reviews from the likes of Michael Connelly, Lee Child and Michael Koryta, as well as a bevy of other A-list authors.

As the novel begins, we meet FBI Agent Peter Sutherland who, much to his own surprise, interviews for a position in the White House and gets it in spite of the misgivings of all those he works with.  That’s because his father, who also worked for the US Government was suspected of selling secrets to the Russians . . . an allegation which cost him everything, including his life.  It’s a family shame Peter has spent his entire life trying to live down by always being squeaky clean in everything he says and does.  Now, he’s working at the very heart of the seat of government in the Situation Room at the White House, just steps away from the President of the United States.  Peter’s job—sitting next to a telephone all night long and waiting for it to ring, which it’s only done once in the past year.  When it does ring, his job is to get a code phrase and message from the caller and pass it on to two people . . . both of whom talk directly to POTUS.

Then a call comes in at 1:05am from a terrified young woman named Rose.  Her aunt and uncle have just been killed.  She’s hiding in a closet and the shooter is still in the house hunting for her.  Her uncle gave her the code and the number, along with the message, “Tell them that OSPREY was right.  It’s happening . . .” then the phone goes silent, thrusting Peter Sutherland into the heart of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of government.  It’s diplomacy by other means, as the intrigue swirls, the assassinations continue unchecked, and the tension mounts higher with every page.  The Night Agent, despite it’s innocent sounding title, is the one thriller you don’t want to miss, because the plot could have been ripped right out of today’s headlines.  It’s one helluva yarn!

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John Dwaine McKenna

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