Reviewer Kathy Johnson: Kathy is a book reviewer for a local newsletter and reviewed books for TCM Reviews before they went extinct. She has had various articles and children’s short stories published in magazines. She has a B.A. in English, and more than 10 years experience as a technical writer. Kathy currently lives in rural Trinity County, California and enjoys fishing and gardening as well as reading and reviewing books.
Author: Alec Nevala-Lee
Author: Alec Nevala-Lee
City of Exiles is a thrilling read with its multi-faceted characters and fast action. From the moment the story begins with Manuel, an assassin, waiting to close in on his target, suspense builds and the plot twists in unique and thrilling ways. Ilya, a Russian Jew and a former Russian agent was betrayed by his government so he left their service and has established a cover for himself as a translator. He narrowly escapes the assassination attempt. Ilya begins to investigate who wants him killed and why now.
Rachel Wolfe, a special agent with the FBI was sent to work as a liaison officer to the Serious Organized Crime Agency in London. Rachel is assisting in an international investigation and dealing with her feelings of disenchantment with the Mormon Church and dissatisfaction with her life in total. Rachel is working with Alan Powell. Powell had specifically asked for Rachel as liaison and respects her abilities but Rachel is feeling barely tolerated by other members of the team.
Lasse Karvonnen is a current Russian agent who prides himself on never killing a fellow Finn but has no hesitation when killing others. There is a contrast between Ilya, who is suspected in the torture and killing of several people, and Lasse Karvonnen, the Finnish assassin who delights in killing. Karvonnen does not hesitate to kill Renata, a drug addicted photographer he has been working with as a cover.
Rachel and Powell are on Ilya’s trail as they suspect him in some recent murders. Rachel becomes intrigued when Vasylenko calls Ilya a righteous man and states that he wouldn’t kill anyone unless he were deeply confused. Rachel feels a strange connection with Ilya in her quest to decipher the deadly plot which may threaten thousands if not millions of people. Ilya is alienated from the Russian spy network because he was betrayed by them. Rachel feels alienated from her church, family and from the local authorities whom she feels don’t recognize her value.
Rachel has to balance her need for support in the foreign environment with caution because there is a traitor leaking information from somewhere in the organization. Critical information leaks have allowed the enemy to be one jump ahead of her at crucial moments. Key witnesses and pieces of evidence have been removed or destroyed. The quick action, combined with the interesting characters meld together to make an excellent spy thriller.
Although part of a series, City of Exiles stands alone on its merits. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to more from Alec Nevala-Lee.