The Blood of Patriots and Traitors

Oceanview. (A Max Geller Spy Thriller, Bk. 2). Feb. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781608095261. $27.95. THRILLER
In this follow-up to The President’s Dossier, CIA agent Max Geller gets blackmailed into returning to Russia to learn the truth about a defector. He’s a dead man if he crosses the border, but he has no choice, thanks to his former boss using his girlfriend, Vanessa, as bait. Once the mission is in play, it doesn’t go as planned, and he’s spotted in Moscow, then pursued by his old enemy, FSB Colonel Zabluda. Now Max’s main goal is to get out alive. For some reason, the writing never quite clicks, so the narrative gets bogged down. The exciting parts don’t arrive until the novel’s second half, and the experience feels like two separate stories shoved together.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed the first novel will want to see how Geller’s life and career play out, but there is not much here for newcomers. What could be a classic in the spy genre, complete with a timely idea, doesn’t live up to its initial promise.
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