The Eighth Sister

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Published by Thomas & Mercer April 9, 2019

The Eighth Sister starts as a spy novel and turns into a lawyer novel. Two of my favorite genres rolled into a single book. I’m happy to report that the result will appeal to fans of both espionage thrillers and courtroom thrillers.

Seven Russian women, known as the Seven Sisters, were trained as American agents during the Cold War. Now that Putin is in charge, three have been killed. Former CIA agent Charles Jenkins, who runs a security service with cash flow problems, is recruited to travel to Moscow and identify the eighth sister, a Russian operative who is trying to ferret out the identities of the remaining four. Once Jenkins identifies her, someone else will kill her.

Jenkins is recruited by the man who used to be his station chief in Mexico City. For that reason, Jenkins believes that the CIA has authorized his mission. I suspect that most fans of spy fiction will wonder from the start whether that is true, and will wonder why Jenkins doesn’t do more to confirm that he is actually serving his government. But he’s getting paid handsomely, so maybe he doesn’t care.

Jenkins has a 9-year-old son at home and another baby on the way. He is 64 years old, 6’5” and black, so he stands out a bit in Moscow. The plot includes some good chase scenes in Russia when the mission goes south. It also introduces collateral characters who are self-sacrificing, adding a feel-good element to the story that never seems manipulative.

Every good spy novel contains at least one double-cross while challenging the reader to guess whether certain characters are good guys or bad guys. After the double-cross occurs, Jenkins is accused of being a traitor, a charge that never sits well with jurors or hanging judges.

The story offers a realistic view of the lengths to which the federal government will go to poison the public’s mind when it makes arrests, doing everything it can — from perp walks to press releases — to make a suspect guilty in the public mind until proven innocent. And convincing witnesses to tell the government’s version of the truth, even if it isn’t objectively true, is a specialty of federal prosecutors.

Jenkins is defended by David Sloane, a seasoned lawyer who has appeared in other Robert Dugoni novels. The plot depends on the government bringing Jenkins to trial while withholding evidence of his innocence — something no ethical prosecutor would do, but not every federal prosecutor is ethical. In our imperfect world, however, prosecutors (and particularly federal prosecutors) know their odds of being disciplined for ethical lapses are virtually nonexistent. I also found it doubtful that a majority of the Ninth Circuit would go along with a charade that prevents a defendant from presenting compelling evidence of innocence (some other circuits, yes, but the Constitution is still in effect on the West Coast). Still, it is easy to roll with the court’s ruling to keep the story moving.

The courtroom scenes generate the kind of drama that legal thrillers should create. The Eighth Sister effectively bridges the spy and legal genres, telling two very different stories but telling them both well. I don’t recall another novel that combines the genres in quite this way, so bravo to Dugoni for doing something new and clever — and for doing it so ably.

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Charles Jenkins is a former CIA agent, now "retired," owner of a security company, and husband and father with one son and another child on the way.  But he has one problem--his business is in trouble and he needs money fast.  

It seems that fate is in his corner when his former CIA boss sends him on a mission across Russia.  He must work fast to outwit the Russian agents, protect the seven sisters and collect payment to save his home.  However, he finds himself in a race across Russia and Turkey in a race against time.  I couldn't put down this heartpounding tale of espionage and spy games.
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Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
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In the first Charles Jenkins novel, Robert Dugoni brings us a spy novel novel that feels slightly different. Charles Jenkins is a retired CIA agent. Already in his 60’s, with a pregnant wife and a young son at home, he is looking to enjoy his golden years with his loved ones by his side. Everyone has obligations in life; however, and Charles is no different. He has a budding career in private security and his clients have fallen behind on their bills. Finding himself in a financial hole, Charlie is hard pressed to refuse a job offer from his former case manager. 

His job is simple, fly to Russia, make them believe he is a disenfranchised business owner, who is still active CIA,who is looking to sell secrets in exchange for cash. The CIA is looking for the identity of a person who is exposing the identities of 7 women who are secret CIA operatives who have been giving information to the US government for decades. The women are known as the seven sisters .  To uncover their identities the Russians have enlisted an eighth sister. Charles is to try and expose the identity of the eighth sister to the CIA so that the CIA can get rid of the eighth sister before any more of the original 7 are exposed and killed. Needless to say, Charles mission falls apart and he finds himself doubting what  his CIA handler had told him. In an effort to alert the CIA to a possible mole in their ranks, Charles puts himself on the line, and finds himself being charged as a traitor. 

While this story didn’t go where I expected, it was an engaging tale. This should be a satisfying read for fans of the spy novel genre. While Charles is a different kind of hero, he is a well written, sympathetic individual that you can’t help but root for. An enjoyable, recommended read.
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Captivating and believable this book is a must for Robert Dugoni fans and those who love a good CIA/FBI type story. The Eighth Sister follows Charles Jenkins back into the world of the CIA and Russian operatives. Immediately grabbing your attention, the story keeps you on the edge of  your seat right up until the very end. I am a big Dugoni fan stemming from his Tracy Crosswhite series but this maybe be my favorite story. It had all the components of a government scheme and the characters lived up to the hype of the story. it also ties in some beloved Dugoni characters, David Sloane and his son Jake. What I loved about this book was that it was very straightforward in it's timeline. While mentioning Jenkins' past in the CIA it didn't jump around from past to present, everything followed real time. Jenkin's character I immediately liked and felt a connection to while reading. The chase of the spy game was well written. I felt like I was in the back alley's and running alongside Jenkin's the entire time. Dugoni paints a very vivid image of the places and people in his stories. I felt the anxiety and the elation along with the characters. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone and I can't wait to see where Jenkin's story takes us. 

*I received a copy of this book for free for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A gripping spy thriller!

'The Eighth Sister' by Robert Dugoni instantly grabbed my attention, as I had previously read and enjoyed books from his Tracey Crosswhite series.

His latest offering is the first featuring Charles (AKA Charlie) Jenkins, a retired CIA Agent and I was instantly engrossed in this gripping spy thriller! Charles is a family man, married to his wife Alex, who is heavily pregnant, and they have a son known as CJ.

Charles has his own security business, which unfortunately is suffering financially. So when his old CIA boss turns up unexpectedly offering to 'reinstate' him on a special undercover mission to Russia, it seems like the answer to Charles' prayers with a lucrative financial reward. His remit is to discover a Russian spy, who it appears is killing members of a US spy cell, known as the seven sisters. 

As soon as Charles arrives in Moscow, he realises that he is now embroiled in an extremely treacherous game, with so many twists and turns that he literally has to fight for his life! Who can he trust? Can he remain one step ahead of the game?

This rollercoaster ride seems to draw to a conclusion, but then there is an interesting court case, where Charles has to face serious charges against the US Government. Will Sloane, his brief, be clever enough to discover the truth?

I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters in this taut, riveting spy game and found myself hooked until the finale. Thank you, Robert Dugoni.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of this book to review.
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Book Review: The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni creates a spy!

Replete with action, gizmos and spy-speak, the critically-acclaimed author showcases the full range of his tremendous talent, and pens a spy thriller - a genre beyond the bounds of his prior work.

Although the plot morphs into a legal thriller in the last third of the book, in the style of the author's "David Sloane" legal series, the secret agent stuff is quite credible, opens a new level of excitement for his readers, and is quite a departure from his bestselling "Tracy Crosswhite" homicide detective series, and from his most recent book, the coming-of-age, touching and deeply religious "The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell" 

Odds are long against the protagonist, ex-CIA operative, Charles Jenkins, who is caught in a deadly web where the lines between friend and foe are blurred; a case of deeply embedded sleeper cells in Russia, a Russian counter-espionage officer out to get him, and a highly-placed Russian mole manipulating his betrayed country's agencies. 

Jenkins - a hero who risked his life for his country finds himself in a dilemma, labelled a traitor to his country under the treacherous manipulations of the mole. 

Who is the eight sister? Who are the seven other sisters? Will Jenkins and his family survive?

"He thought of Viktor Federov and of Carl Emerson, and of justice, often meted out in ways unexpected, for all of them."

Ian Fleming meets John Grisham - and more. The master storyteller does not disappointed, and whets the appetite for his next novel.

Review based on an advance reading copy provided by NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Thomas & Mercer.
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Initially, I was a little unsure about The Eighth Sister. Spy novels are not usually my thing, and I sometimes find the foreign intrigue confusing. But I’ve read many of Robert Dugoni’s books, and he has an incredible ability to pull his reader into his setting, whatever it may be. His writing is always clear, sharp, on-point, and easy to understand. And his characters tend to stay in your head. So I gave his spy novel a try. 

He didn’t disappoint. 

It features former CIA case officer Charlie Jenkins (a friend and associate of David Sloane, the lawyer in another Dugoni series). 

Jenkins is at a crossroads: In his early sixties, he has a family and a new late-in-life baby on the way. His security consulting business is on the brink of bankruptcy because his main client isn’t paying. 

Then his former bureau chief shows up at his rural home and proposes a risky assignment. Go undercover to Moscow and find a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine spy cell known as the Seven Sisters.

Jenkins walked away from the CIA forty years ago, but this one assignment will solve all of his money problems. He speaks Russian, and he has had experience working with the KGB years ago in Mexico. He reluctantly says yes and heads to Russia. 

But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations, the nick-named Eighth Sister, she is not who or what his CIA contact led him to believe. When his mission goes awry, he has to find his way out of Russia, with the FSB—the modern KBG—on his tail. 

But in this game of cat and mouse, Jenkins’ problems don’t end when he shakes the Russians. 

Jenkins returns to Seattle to find the CIA and all associated parties deny knowledge of Charlie’s participation in the Russian assignment. Abandoned by the agency he serves, and with his family and freedom at risk, he finds himself in the fight of his life—against his own country. 

The Eighth Sister is both spy novel and legal thriller (the latter is classic Robert Dugoni), with a fast pace that will please readers of both genres. The story line is front-page current in this age when Russia is back to play a key role in the international political scene. 

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Another great thriller by Robert Dugoni. Although this is not my favorite novel of Dugoni, it is filled with espionage, spy games, and court room drama. Charles Jenkins is a former CI A agent and now owns his own private security business which is about to go bankrupt. He has a family with a new baby on the way. His former CIA action chief enters the scene and asks Charlie to take on a mission in Russia. It gives him the chance to earn some cash to save his business and also help his country. How can he refuse? Dugoni has a great ability to develope his characters and in this novel does a fantastic job of describing the environment of Russia. If you enjoy a a thriller plus some espionage this just might be the book for you!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I had just read the Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, and really loved the book. This is the first mystery of Robert Dugoni's that I have read and I just couldn't get into the story. I am just not the right person to read a story about Russian espionage, and I didn't find the characters engaging. So I will say I was disappointed with the book.
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The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni is another great story. Robert Dugoni is such a great story teller that I still haven´t read a book by him that I´m not thrilled about. 
The Eighth Sister is a gripping thriller that I for one could not put down. It twist and turns on you and if you thought that you had everything figured out, it makes another twist on you. Great read.
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Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Eighth Sister.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Charles Jenkins is a former CIA case worker with a cash flow problem and no relief in sight.  In his 60's, yet with a young son and one on the way, Charles is given an opportunity for which he feels is an answer to his issues.  His mission is to locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters, but complications give Charles a reason to be suspicious.  In a high stakes game of espionage, will Charles come out on the right side or be forced to take drastic measures?

The Eighth Sister is a fast paced spy thriller with good characters and a roller coaster of a plot.  As expected with a spy thriller, there are many twists and turns, but I was pleasantly surprised that the character development was basically able to keep up.  Charles Jenkins is an interesting character with more story to tell, so I would be interested in reading another novel featuring this man.  Readers who like spy thrillers and suspense will be pleased with the action sequences and the quick pacing.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC of this book. 
I have read many of Dugoni's books and I think this is my favorite. The plot is engaging and the characters well developed.
Keeps you reading for sure.
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I have never read anything by this author but I heard great things about this book so I gave it a try. I thought it was exciting and a page turner. I purchased this book for the library and am sure I will have many patrons that will like it.
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Editor’s note: The following review was published May 14 in the (Boone, N.C.) Mountain Times at

Because it’s never too early to prime the pump for your summer reading, publishing houses have a habit of releasing some of their best and most anticipated books in the days and weeks immediately preceding Memorial Day.

This year, a few of those titles have found their way onto our “can’t miss” list. Within the books listed here, you’ll find a bit of something for almost every reader, from young adult to seasoned bibliophile. They’re all page turners and cover a gamut of genres. Even better, they’re all recent pubs that are available now in your favorite flavor — e-book, print or, except for our nonfiction selection, audio.

‘Run Away’ by Harlan Coben (Grand Central Publishing)

I’m convinced that Harlan Coben is more machine than man. There’s no other way to account for an author with 70 million books published in 43 languages who is the creator and executive producer for a Netflix television drama, who is currently filming a movie for Netflix based on one of his novels, was executive producer for a couple of French mini-TV series and who has won more literary awards than we have room to print here, including the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award — the first author to win all three.

In “Run Away,” Coben’s 31st novel, the author dissects a seemingly perfect nuclear family with a knife that cuts deep and thorough: drug abuse. Coben’s plot-driven novel puts you in a position where it’s not difficult to imagine what the dark roads you would travel to follow your own addicted daughter in order to bring her home. A wonderful reveal at the end builds with a handful of likable characters we’ll want to see more of.

‘The Eighth Sister’ by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)

Robert Dugoni is my go-to author for just about anything. He writes unparalleled thrillers and suspense, and the occasional coming-of-age tale — often in combinations that can feel like a Grisham-Patterson-Coben concoction in just the right proportions.

“The Eighth Sister” introduces us to a new series starter character: former but now reactivated CIA case officer Charles Jenkins. The novel takes us deep into Russia’s underworld with Dugoni’s trademark and unpredictable twists and turns. Fans of the author’s Tracy Cosswhite series will welcome Jenkins into their libraries.
Fans of audio books will welcome Edoardo Ballerini’s superb narration of “The Eighth Sister," adding a depth of dimension to the novel.

And fans of Amazon’s immersion reading will welcome the price. Both the e-book and audio book are available free as of presstime in Prime Reading.

‘Atlas Alone: A Planetfall Novel’ by Emma Newman (Ace)

Like an unexpected letter from a long-lost friend, “Atlas Alone” arrived in my reviewer's mailbox early one April morning, and I opened it just as expectantly.

Emma Newman writes science fiction and fantasy from South West England, UK, and she does it extremely well. Another one-single-job-couldn’t-possibly-be-enough author, Newman is the co-creator of the Hugo Award-winning podcast “Tea and Jeopardy and counts among her diverse daily activities live action role playing and dress making.

“Atlas Alone” is Newman’s fourth sci-fi novel to join the Planetfall universe — a series of books that also read as standalones. Each of this novel’s predecessors — “Planetfall” (2015), “After Atlas” (2016) and “Before Mars” (2018) — are marked by strong lead characters whose inner- and outer-journeys are influenced by the semi-dystopian world around them.

In “Atlas Alone,” Newman channels Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” to craft a novel of vengeance as heroine Dee struggles to find those who ordered a nuclear strike, destroying the Earth. Alone, the answer to the riddle proves elusive — and calls into question not only her ability to trust others, but herself.

'Mr. Finchley Discovers His England' by Victor Canning (Farrago)

This first of three comic novels by Victor Canning is not a new book, but it was the author’s initial published novel, in 1934. Not yet old enough to be in the public domain, Farrago has reissued this charming gentleman-adventure novel along with its companions, “Mr. Finchley Goes to Paris” and “Mr. Finchley Takes the Road,” as e-books.
This first book about the 45-year-old unmarried solicitor’s clerk follows Finchley on his misadventures as he attempts to take his first-ever holiday, beginning with his abduction in the backseat of a Bentley. From here, the picaresque novel travels through a gentler and more refined time as we follow Finchley’s travails throughout an English countryside much slower-paced than today’s. Perfect reading for a “take a breath” break from the current state of the world, the Mr. Finchley novels, like D.E. Stevenson’s “Miss Buncle” series, are a welcome respite from a too-often cluttered literary landscape.

‘The Road to Healing: Civil Rights Reparations Story in Prince Edward County, Virginia’ by Ken Woodley (NewSouth Books)

As the only nonfiction pick on today’s reading list, Ken Woodley’s “The Road to Healing” is arguably the most important.

When Prince Edward County, Va., closed its public schools in 1959 as an act of resistance to the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, the community’s family-owned newspaper, “The Farmville Herald,” led the fight to shutter the schools rather than integrate. Because of this, white students would continue their education in private schools, while black students would have no formal education until forced integration took place five years later.

Setting wrongs to right, in “The Road to Healing,” Woodley — a journalist for nearly four decades at “The Farmville Herald,” including 24 years as its editor — documents an insider’s story of his efforts to establish reparations in the form of state-funded scholarships for black students. Those efforts would come to a successful reality in 2004 in what were perhaps the first Civil Rights-era reparations in U.S. history.

The account of Woodley’s advocacy is told stirringly here as a reporter, and ultimately a community, struggle to understand and amend for past grievances. Few crusades are as well-documented as this telling of Woodley’s quest for justice.
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I really enjoyed the first 80% or so of this book - lots of action,mystery, spying, and it was fun even though I didn't feel particularly attached to any of the characters. The last 20%, the legal part, was a confusing snooze. I would have liked the bookish better if it had been resolved with action.
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Thank you to neck Kelly, Thomas and Mercer, and Robert Dugoni for this ARC.  I’m an avid fan of this out there, having loved the Tracy Crosswhite series, and  a few of his standalones. This  book “The Eighth Sister” left me a bit confused.  It’s seem to go from a pretty good story of trying to find the eighth sister, and the other four to a story about Charles Jensen and how he was being used, Which was a good story in itself. So I found two stories in here but the first one which was the title of the book, left me with so many questions as it just went from trying to find the sister to jumping into Charles Jensen  story. And that’s for my confusion lies. Was Paulina  the eighth sister? Do you even have any idea where that storyline went? So for this book I gave it a three only because it left me confused and with a lot of questions. As to the ending of the book, I see a 2nd book to in the works, which means we’ll  find out in the next book what the friends and family of Charles Johnson were referring to on the TV. I think we could’ve all guessed it but I’m sure it’ll come out in the second book to see if were right. .
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I actually bought this book on Audible because I love Dugoni's books in the Audible format.  This is a spy novel, with the main character being recruited out of retirement by the CIA to seek out the Russian who is trying to eliminate seven Russian women who have been spying for the US for decades.  Woven into the storyline is Dugoni character attorney David Sloane, and his now grown son Jake, a law student.  This brings some familiarity to the reader but doesn't really overshadow the new characters in this book.  Numerous twists and turns in the plot, along with settings all over the globe, make the story addictive.  Highly enjoyable!
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Robert Dugoni is a wonderful writer. He’s written six police detective novels featuring Tracy Crosswhite. I’ve enjoyed them all. I’ve liked the two legal thrillers featuring David Sloane that I’ve read and hope to get to the others. I have read two standalones as well, both very well written. Now Dugoni’s trying something different – a spy thriller. The Eighth Sister features a former CIA agent-turned private security consultant who gets caught up in a secret agency operation known as “the seven sisters.” Named for the seven Stalinist style skyscrapers built in Moscow during the late 1940s to early 1950s, the sisters refer to Russian women who work for the Russian government who are spying for the CIA.

Charles Jenkins left the CIA forty years earlier. He was angry and disillusioned, and he has put that behind him. When his former superior shows up out of the blue to recruit him to try to find a Russian agent who is killing the CIA spies one by one, Jenkins thinks long and hard. He has a wife. A nine-year-old son. A baby on way. His company is also in financial trouble. He is led to believe that he will find the agent, “the eighth sister,” get paid, and go home. End of story, right?

That wouldn’t be much of a thriller, now would it? Jenkins – Charlie – does meet a woman, but is she the killer? He winds up having to avoid the police, go into hiding, and somehow flee Russia with the law hot on his trail. All this takes ingenuity, courage, trust, stamina, and help from others along the way. It’s not easy to go unnoticed, given that Jenkins is a six-foot-five black man, who does by the way, speak Russian.

When he finally does make it home, he suspects that somehow his problems are not over. He learns that the CIA has forsaken him, and now it’s up to his friend, lawyer David Sloane, to preserve his freedom. Some of the aspects of the case were a bit confusing to me at first, but as the details emerge, things made more sense.

This is a fast-paced story filled with tension and drama. Charles Jenkins is a clever, intelligent man who seems to have maintained his skills despite the many years since his days in the Agency. He also displays warmth and humanity, not only toward his family, but also toward the Russian women whom he has never met. He feels a sense of duty toward them as fellow agents who have sacrificed much for the sake of the US.

I liked most of the characters in this book, even the Russian FSR agent, Federov. He goes by the book, but he is incredibly smart. However, he actually seems to respect Jenkins and acknowledges that he is a worthy opponent. I loved Pauline’s story; it felt very “Russian” to me. I also loved Charlie’s family – wife Alex, son CJ, and their new baby. David and Jake are great as friends and skilled professionals too. Those who were unlikeable were written to be that way.

So The Eighth Sister is part espionage, part legal thriller, and all enjoyment. I don’t normally read spy novels, but I read this in two days. I highly recommend The Eighth Sister.

Thanks to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and the author for an ARC digital copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

5 stars
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Bestselling thriller author, Robert Dugoni, introduces protagonist Charles Jenkins in the first installment of a new series, The Eight Sister. Jenkins, owner of a fledgling security consulting business, and former CIA operative, meets with his former boss who gives him the opportunity to make a lot of money by taking on a risky mission. Strapped for money, Jenkins takes the job which means traveling to Russia and finding and stopping a Russian agent who is killing US spies, and is known as The Seven Sisters. Once in Russia, Jenkins finds himself in grave danger, and crossing the Black Sea to save himself; those who hired him are against him as well as the Russian agents he is trying to stop.

Anyone who has read Dugoni?s other novels knows that his characters are well-developed and believable. Jenkins is likeable and is just trying to save his business and provide for his wife and soon-to-be-born child. In his sixties, Jenkins may be considered past his prime, but luckily, his skills remain and he is alert to the dangers of this mission. As the story unfolds, the scenarios are fairly plausible, and with several twists, the plot keeps the interest of readers. There are several edge-of-your-seat situations, and there are times when the novel is difficult to put down.

Although most of us don?t have experience is spying and espionage, Dugoni sets the scene and creates a believable backdrop for the novel to go forward. Dugoni is an excellent storyteller and the book flows smoothly right up to the d?nouement where there is an unexpected ending.

Dugoni is an excellent thriller writer and this new series is one to watch and anticipate the next installment.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
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