Both Great Reads Despite Despicable Subjects – But One Is Deep, the Other Hollow I had not intended to read “Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy” (2020), by Ben Macintyre, and “American Kompromat: How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery,” by Craig Unger, back-to-back, but doing so turned out to be fortuitous, as it threw the themes of the books into stark relief. On a whim last year, I purchased a signed copy of “Agent S
“Who Is Vera Kelly” by Rosalie Knecht (2018) is part coming-of-age novel, part spy story. It doesn’t evolve like an espionage thriller, but I liked it anyway. About a third of the way through the book, I was desperate to know what would happen. It slowly warmed me up, like a good stew after a long hike in the cold. Written in the first person, it’s about a drifting-but-smart young woman, Vera, who embarks on a job with the CIA and ends up in Buenos Aires on her first major as
Bangkok – Thursday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m. (9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 26) The driver opened the rear door of the German luxury sedan, and Ko stretched his long legs out onto the red carpet. He paused before the main entrance of the Honor Park Embassy, brushed off his suit and straightened his tie. A tropical downpour—strangely early this year—had just ended. The air smelled fresh, and the trees and plants lining the semicircular drive glistened as they dripped dry. Patches of
Washington, DC – Wednesday, Feb. 26, 9 p.m. EST A waiter rested his tray, loaded with five steins of beer and five glasses of bourbon, on the table next to Anna. Around her sat Viktor, Raven, Mel and Sara. The table was draped in a white tablecloth. A little plastic “reserved” sign stood in the middle. “I can’t believe you got Karl to take a reservation, Mel,” said Anna. “You’re welcome,” Mel said. “But let me be clear—the tablecloth was Karl’s idea.” “What about the drinks?
Washington, DC – Monday, Feb. 24, 3:30 p.m. EST Anna and Tanner reached the end of the Reflecting Pool and paused by the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Anna detected a twinkle in Tanner’s eye. “Is it about the Mirror article?” she asked. “Yes, indeed,” Tanner said, nodding and pursing his lips again. “Turns out Steven Brown, Senator Caleb’s flack, admitted to planting the smear campaign about you. You’ll never guess who put him up to it.” “I couldn’t say,” she replied. “Sasha
Washington, DC – Monday, Feb. 24, 10:00 a.m. EST Sara jumped up and headed to the front door of the café, planning to bolt just like she had done at the Portrait Gallery. Anna rushed after her. “Sara, wait!” she pleaded. “Please sit down. We need to make a plan.” Giovanni trailed as well. “I didn’t mean I thought you would do it.” Pausing by the entrance, Sara glared at him. Filling the silence, Giovanni quickly continued. “They gave me a few days to convince you, but instead
Washington, DC – Monday, Feb. 24, 9:45 a.m. EST When Sara and Giovanni arrived outside Café de Nimes, Giovanni looked at her for guidance. “Go,” was all she said. He understood, and she followed him inside. Jean Claude’s face lit up at the sight of her. “Ah, Mademoiselle!” he said. “Your Frenchman has found you!” “Yes, Jean Claude,” she said, mustering a smile. “Two more café au laits, please.” “Right away, Mademoiselle!” Jean Claude said. Sara pointed to a booth in the back.
Washington, DC – Sunday, Feb. 23, 7:50 p.m. EST “Tanner, it’s me,” Anna said, putting the phone on speaker again. It was her turn to bark. “I can’t believe you….” “Not now, Jones. Listen!” Tanner said, as if they had already been in a conversation. “Remember, somebody tried to call Evy after she died? The number tracks back to a company based in Bangkok called Cutting Edge Forex.” “How did you find that out?” she asked. “I have my contacts here and there, Jones. I’ve been wor