Author: Mark Greaney

Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 978-0-451-48894-7

Imagine three things happening at the same time. First, Court Gentry receives a last-minute order or summons to Langley and is supposed to be transported on  CIA Gulfstream in Zurich. But the plane stops in Luxembourg, City. Something sinister happens and a team of CIA agents board the plane with passenger with a hood over his head. Then, the plane lands at an English air base, where the Americans were told to hand over this prisoner to M16. However, not all plans go the way they are set up and the prisoner is grabbed, taken away in a van and there is total carnage and a massacre there. The gunmen kill the two transaction parties as Court takes a plane to follow them. Simultaneously, Zoya Zakharova, his love interest is being interrogated at a safe house, but something happens there too. The CIA is questioning her, Susan Brewer is the go between at this point and is also pivotal in what happens with Court. The safe house comes under a brutal attack and Zoya aka Anthem her code name escapes. Everyone else is killed. Both assaults are connected but this is just the tip of a very dangerous iceberg as we realize from the conversations between Court and Brewer that she is not on his side, would like to have him eliminated and yet he’s the best at what he does. Not able to get backup and return to Washington, he is left on he’s his own. At a small airfield in Midlands, he realizes that something is wrong and follows his instincts to gain control of the prisoner while Zoya is running for her life.

Court is caught in the middle of a dangerous situation as he realizes that he must take charge of the banker that has been kidnapped. Hearing Fox interrogate him links this banker to Zoya’s father who previously served as the head of Russia’s Military Intelligence. Thinking this man has information that would help both sides the interrogation gets violent, and both sides, including Deputy Director of Operations Matthew Hanley has their own agenda. While Gentry goes after the prisoner there is no one to back him up. Traitors are within all the agencies and the search for the mole might bring both sides down.

Within this novel we meet Dr. Won  Jang Mi whose main goal is dealing with bio warfare and is determined to unleash a deadly virus in the West. Moving around from North Korea, Russia and then given a job at a lab in Switzerland but that was temporary as she was once again moved by David Mars and his cohorts. Now informed that in 10 days she was required to have the bacteria ready to unleash and yet you wonder why she really hates the west thinking the west did harm to her country. She seemed narrow minded and prejudice against the U.S. and ever effort she made was to destroy and unleash a weapon that would kill many. While she was working on her plan both Court and Zoya had their own as she learned that her father might be alive, visited an uncle that was not exactly on her side and when all three plans intersect what will the final reveal or outcome be as Court entrenches himself in a plan that he hopes will take down whatever the other side wanted but which side is Brewer on and why isn’t he getting backup?

With Court on his mission on his own and Zoya fighting off Russians things get tense as we learn more about her father who apparently has resurfaced from the dead. Just where the connection is and how we learn this links it to the deaths of so many, the banker who was taken and the moles in the CIA and other agencies. When things get tense and both Court and Zoya are targeting the same man in the same place either they team up and get to the bottom of what would be a deadly outcome, or they survive on their own.

While this is happening Won Jang Li or now Janice Won, is hoping to inflict the deadly virus and bacteria on the west and seems to think that her time has come with threats to leave the program and the facility if she cannot do what she has planned for so long. But who will take the fall for what she has created? While Court and Zoya face their own obstacles, Brewer and Hanley handle what looks like a suicide of the mole but was this person really the CIA mole?

Both Zoya and Court find themselves in the cross hairs of a plot so sinister that it might destroy more than just the West if what they have planned is unleashed. Zoya faces off with someone she thought she could trust and the truth about her past and present comes to light as Court faces obstacles of his own. Lies, betrayals, deceptions, laws broken, the body count rising and no matter which side you are on it’s hard to tell who to trust.

A storyline ripped right out of the headlines and not so far from a reality that could happen if Janice Won’s pathogen becomes air born as planned at the Five Eyes conference. Characters that are strong, well defined and a plot that kept this reviewer riveted to the printed page until the explosive and death defying ending.

The ending will send enemy against enemy and some thinking they are on the same side might realize the harsh truth. With their team in place author Mark Greaney created Zack, Jason, Court that if they don’t stop what has already taken so many lives there will be more than just one Mission Critical before all is said and done as Zoya learns the truth behind the deaths of her mother and brother as lies come out and truths change it all.