Brian Haig,
The Kingmaker
(Time Warner, 2003)

In his third novel, Brian Haig (son of Secretary of State Alexander Haig and author of Secret Sanction and Mortal Allies) creates an exciting thriller with threads of espionage, mystery, romance and politics. Major Sean Drummond, featured in Haig's prior novels, continues his stint as a smart-mouthed attorney. This time, an ex-flame named Mary attempts to hire Drummond to represent her adulterous husband on a charge of treason. Drummond has no love for U.S. Army General William Morrison, a Russian specialist and alleged Soviet spy, but still harbors desires for Mary. Unable to keep himself far from trouble, Drummond takes the case.

Again, Drummond bites off more than he can chew. From the onset the odds are stacked against him. He's been pitted against the army's fiercest prosecutor, the prosecution refuses to share evidence, neither his client nor the witnesses are trustworthy, and there's only two choices for candidates for his co-counsel, neither of whom is promising. He hooks up with Katrina Mazorski, a seedy but increasingly interested lawyer who picks up clients from the county jail and speaks fluent Russian.

Despite their differences, Drummond and Mazorsky make a fabulous team and turn over both American and Soviet soil with a style all their own. The deeper they dig, the bigger the secrets and the rockier the terrain. Greed, murder, sex, lies and presidential talking points make for an earth-shattering revelation and an outstanding finale.

Though I'm not usually a fan of espionage, this witty, fast-paced action thriller, narrated superbly by actor John Rubinstein (Another Stakeout, Someone to Watch Over Me), gripped me and didn't let go until the last word.

- Rambles
written by Lynne Remick
published 14 June 2003

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