Burned: A Vanessa Pierson Novel
Covert CIA ops officer Vanessa Pierson has been chasing down the arms dealer known as Bhoot, or “the ghost,” for most of her brief but action-packed career. His unscrupulous behavior cost the lives of three of Vanessa’s assets in Chechnya as she closed in on him in the first novel, BLOWBACK. She succeeded in sending one of his closest allies to prison, but Bhoot is still at large.
"BURNED is a great weekend armchair travel/suspense adventure, complete with a bit of sex, a lot of action and enough plot twists to keep you turning the pages."
Vanessa has recovered from the wounds suffered in that encounter. Now, much to her surprise, Bhoot has contacted her for help in tracking down an unknown terrorist who has stolen from him a vital and deadly detonator for a miniaturized nuclear device. One of her assets has information regarding the device, and Vanessa is set to meet him near a park at the Louvre in Paris. Once again, just as the rendezvous is about to take place, the man she thought was her asset sets off a suicide bomb in a crowded tourist area, injuring her and killing four innocent tourists. Soon after the bombing, she receives a message that more incidents are imminent, with convincing proof provided when a dud, planted nearby and set to go off simultaneously with the suicide bombing, fails to detonate. A new threat is delivered from a group calling itself the True Jihad.
Vanessa and her former lover, agent David Khoury, are thrown together again as they find themselves in partnership with their French counterparts. Their hunt for the terrorist and suspicion of a mole within their own ranks ranges from Paris to Amsterdam, Istanbul and Venice, and on to a secret Eastern Europe black ops prison. The clock is ticking as the True Jihad broadcasts assassinations of two more CIA informants and kidnaps another with threats to end civilization as we know it.
Valerie Plame is no novice to undercover espionage. Like many successful suspense writers, she has lived the life about which she so convincingly writes. With a 20-year career in the CIA under her belt, she worked as a NOC (non-official cover) agent in the years leading up to the Iraq invasion of 2003. Her cover was blown by Vice President Dick Cheney to columnist Robert Novak during the yellow cake affair, which was the reasoning behind the invasion of Iraq. She is married to former US Ambassador to Iraq Joseph C. Wilson, and both saw the end of decades of service to the United States over the event.
BURNED is a great weekend armchair travel/suspense adventure, complete with a bit of sex, a lot of action and enough plot twists to keep you turning the pages. Volume three promises to be a resounding potboiler after this nail-biting finale.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on October 24, 2014