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    Review of LIARS AND THIEVES by Stephen Coonts (see his website)

    St. Martin's, May 2005

    Former burglar and current CIA operative Tommy Carmellini is ready for a boring week guarding an agency safe house. Instead, he walks in on an operation--someone has taken out the CIA guards, set the safe house on fire, and has left only a pretty translator and one of the defecting KGB agent's seven bags of documents intact. The safe house really was secret and the equipment the attackers use can only be government. Carmellini is convinced this isn't the Russians protecting anything, it's a domestic operation--which means there's a traitor in his own chain of command. Together with the translator, Carmellini goes underground--trying both to stay alive and to learn who might be behind the killings.

    When neither the shootout at the safe house nor a subsequent battle outside the translator's home is picked up by the newspapers, Carmellini realizes the traitor reaches way up--perhaps all the way to the White House. With the help of a retired Admiral, Carmellini comes up with a plan to smoke out the truth--no matter who gets in the way.

    Author Stephen Coonts combines constant action with a tough and likable protagonist--Carmellini's history of burglary making him a bit more human and sympathetic. LIARS AND THIEVES is a hard book to put down and the action--and body count--are intense. I thought Coonts relied a bit heavily on coincidence--allowing Carmellini to arrive first to pick up the Russian defector seemed a bit contrived, but the continual reappearance of sexy ex-lover Dorsey O'Shea even more so. Still, with the story pushing on like a tidal wave, it was easy to overlook these, along with Carmellini's casual attitude toward the opposite sex and just hang on waiting for the next surge of violence.

    See more reviews of novels by Stephen Coonts.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/26/08

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