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A Killing in Rome

Author: Rostand, Robert Set In . . .
 Europe, Italy, Rome
Genre: Other
Time Frame: None
Published:
Description: Needing Locken's talents, a dangerous former enemy comes for help.

The third in a trilogy of hard-action suspense novels featuring ex-State Department specialist in transport and security, Mike Locken. "Locken's a brazen roughneck and the action's incessant," says the Library Journal.

Mike Locken is back -- street-smarter maybe, but his beat-up exterior no more durable -- thinking those days of the Cold War, plying his trade for an off-the-books operation of the U.S. government, were ancient history.

That is until Max Gurtz, a crafty trafficker of people with good reasons and enough money to want a quick exit from Russia, comes to Locken with an offer he can't refuse -- for a private reason Locken will admit to no one.

The job? A Russian named Vanya Kirovin, aka The Butcher, one-time head of the KGB's unit of head-hunters and assassins, the GRU. Locken's task, to get Kirovin -- now on the run from his own people -- from Budapest to a sanctuary in Rome.

Oh, yeah, Locken knows Kirovin...too well. Back when Locken was transporting Soviet defectors and blown US agents out from behind the Iron Curtain his team and Kirovin's thugs collided often and the meetings were always bloody.

The joker is that now the only person Kirovin will trust to orchestrate his flight to safety is Mike Locken, once his fiercest (and most imaginative) adversary. What was that line of George Orwell's? That we're living in times when enemies become our friends, and friends our enemies.

So, Locken hastily puts together a team of has-been black ops vets, not without talents, but with questionable nerve for their former game. And from the outset the long odds get longer. As it turns out Kirovin is bringing a trading basket full of names and secrets that both Kirovin's bosses and the CIA want to get their hands on along with every other alphabet spy outfit in the West.

And with Kirovin on the run from his former people Locken knows that somewhere out there waiting will be Kirovin's own prized ace-assassin, never i.d.'d, known only as Borla. The name still sets off the images frozen in Locken's mind as clear as yesterday... of a lady's brutal killing at the hands of Borla.

Says Publisher's Weekly, "The author of "Viper's Game" proves again that he can calibrate tension with the best thriller-writers, and equal of Len Deighton when it comes to a cynical finale." Adds Newgate Callendar in the New York Times, "Action abounds with a trick ending to boot."

  
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