The Proxy Assassin by John Knoerle.
Two years have passed since Former OSS Agent Hal Schroeder was sent on his last suicide mission. Maybe it's time for him to start settling down. Hal is invited to Washington D.C. by Frank Wisner, head of the CIA’s new covert ops division. He is then whisked off to Wisner’s Maryland shore retreat and introduced to Romanian royals, including the beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea.
Wisner asks Hal if he would consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas? That's when things get scary.
After being totally captivated by the second book of this series, A Despicable Profession, I eagerly anticipated the release of the final book. Hal is faced with a new puzzle to solve in the fight against Communism. Knoerle blends characters from the past book with new fictional and historical characters to create a story where the still infant Central Intelligence Agency is working against another threat to freedom. So much of what I like about Hal is part of this book: his cocky, sarcastic attitude, his ability to creatively get out of messes, and his vulnerability to the opposite sex. Hal is wise beyond his years, and he isn't afraid to tell it like it is.
I have to admit the first half of this the book lagged a bit for me. After reading a thrilling, fast-paced story in A Despicable Profession, I found The Proxy Assassin unfolded much more slowly, at least until around Chapter Nineteen, where the pace and action picked up. Knoerle did a superb job of connecting the past and the present. He managed to add a hint of romance or potential romance to Hal's life without distracting from the unfolding storyline. In addition, the back story was woven in well. I only wish the tension and suspense had stayed steady.
Post-WWII fiction lovers, those who enjoy espionage novels, and those interested in historical novels set around the early years of the Cold War should consider this one.
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Blue Steel Press (September 1, 2012)
Kindle version only 99 cents
I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.
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