Monday, July 5, 2010

The Venetian Judgment by David Stone

The Venetian Judgment by David Stone. G. P. Putnam's Sons - Penguin Group (USA) Inc. April 2009. ISBN #: 9780399155734

Micah Dalton feels nothing as he sets out to avenge the death of his lover in the streets of Venice. That feeling changes to much more than satisfaction, an eerie, numbing but exhilarating sense of pleasure. He knows he should be frightened by this sense of completeness, but the moment turns out to be short-lived. For a very classy case holding a glass cutter is given to him that indicates something is very, very wrong in the CIA from whom he is presently an exiled outcast.

So begins a race over cities in Venice, Santori, Istanbul, England and America with another CIA cleaner, Mandy Pownall, to find out who the mole is within the CIA and what secrets could not only severely damage the CIA and NSA arms of clandestine government offices but also provide a public embarrassment regarding sensitive political realities involving the Vietnam War and more.

Briony Keating, a West Point librarian, and Jules Duhamel, a purportedly notable photographer are engaged in a torrid, seductive romance with questions and tension always lurking just below the surface. Her son has been incommunicado for more than his usual lapses and all of a sudden a microchip arrives in the mail containing information that could blow her own cover. Duhamel is watching very carefully for her reaction, knowing he must complete one set of plans if she responds positively to his involvement and another more horrific scenario if she excludes him from a full explanation. However, Briony is no amateur and carries out a third option totally surprising to both Duhamel and the reader.

The above is a very brief description of a few of the hair-raising, complex scenes in this John Le Carre style espionage tale. As the quickly changing settings weave the reader through the complexities of finding the betrayer continue, the reader is propelled through an air-borne fight, attacks by opponents trying to keep Dalton from completing his mission, and numerous events in which death is the only option to consider in order to be successful, to survive!

The Venetian Judgment is written by a master of the spy novel who clearly knows the ins and outs of the espionage game and the ruthless skills required to destroy end games that could possibly destroy leaders and their political plans! Stunning, fast-paced, at times deliberately confusing but all together an exceptionally satisfactory read!

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