Mission Critical: A Grey Man Novel. (Grey Man Series #8). Mark Greaney. Penguin Publishing Group. February 2019. 528 pp. hb.; ISBN: 9780451488947.
Courtland Gentry, the Grey Man, is back in action but not the way he planned. Returning to Washington by orders of his CIA boss, Suzanne Brewer, he’s relaxing in his seat on a plane landing in Luxembourg when some obvious-looking goons drag a man onto the plane, a man whose head is covered by a black bag. It turns out the plane heads to England but not with the prisoner. Upon landing in the U.K., a heavy gun battle ensues, shooting up the plane and killing several of the prisoner’s guards. Court of course gets involved and attempts to follow the van holding the escaped prisoner. There the business begins. It turns out the prisoner knows pivotal information about a mole in Langley.
Meanwhile a Soviet woman, Zoya Zakharvoa, who has turned to become an American spy is being held in a safe house while she is being prepped to be an agent in a top-secret program run by the CIA. One night the safe house is attacked by assassins, with many deaths occurring; but Zoya manages to escape. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with and no one in possession of sanity would attempt to capture or mess with her in any conceivable way.
On another note, another plot is moving forward, directed by Zoya’s father, the former head of the Soviet GRU but now operating under an anonymous name. His plan is motivated by personal reasons and has nothing to do with Russian affairs or Russian authority. The plan involves a North Korean scientist with her own fanatical agenda which she plans to carry out with a biological event.
The plot about the “mole” at CIA gets quite complex and riveting. It turns out several characters are being obviously followed. But the real question is “Who is the mole?” Too bad these characters are innocent or have personal matters they fear exposing.
The violence of this novel is ongoing and intense beyond words. Court or Gentry is very good at his job but unfortunately gets physically hammered by a Godzilla-sized character – several times. Add to the fact that there are many surprises in these pages that aren’t mentioned in this review.
Eventually, Court and Zoya meet, with some interesting chemistry developing between them. Court is a highly skilled and objective guy who has more heart in this novel in the series. He’s a good guy in a very bad world!
It doesn’t take too much imagination to see this story scripted into a thriller/espionage movie. Mark Greaney is a talented writer who knows how delineate a multi-layered plot with interesting characters that keeps readers glued to the page and at the end wanting more!
Nicely crafted, Mark Greaney – a novel to satisfy crime thriller and international spy fans galore!
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