Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Just finished the latest thriller from Gayle Lynds: The Coil (St. Martins, $24.95), due out next April. Helluva good read!

I think it's her best book yet. The characters are engaging, the plot is engrossing, the pacing is tight...It reminded me of vintage Ludlum -- the kind of paranoid, conspiracy, action-packed, on-the-run thriller that Bob made his bones with.

Here's how Lynds' describes the plot (somewhat edited):

Liz Sansborough has built a new and happy life as a university professor. Her specialty? The psychology of violence. In a 180-degree shift, former-CIA agent is so opposed to violence that she won’t even carry a weapon. But then she’s attacked and almost killed, while her cousin Sarah Walker is kidnapped in Paris, and Sarah’s husband, CIA operative Asher Flores, is badly wounded. Suddenly Liz is on the run across two continents, in a desperate hunt for the only ransom the kidnappers will accept -- the long-rumored files of the Carnivore, one of the world's most deadly assassins, and Liz's father.

These secret files are a complete record of his wet jobs, with the sort of detailed, dirty information that topples governments. No wonder the Coil, a clandestine international organization based on a real-life one, will risk everything to find them. But can Liz arm herself, resurrect her old tradecraft skills, and slip back into the dark and treacherous underworld of spies and criminals? And will agent Simon Childs turn out to be friend or foe?

The story picks up where Lynds' first book, Masquerade, left off -- but if you haven't read the earlier one, don't sweat it. I never read it either. (Although, with St. Martins reissuing it early next year for only 4 bucks, there's no reason not to.)

Definitely one to keep an eye out for.