Galina Rostova, the hot new star of Moscow’s theater scene—and mistress to a powerful Russian general—has reached out to the CIA. In exchange for information vital to U.S. security, she requests asylum in America. The Company’s top pick for the mission is Nora Baron. The wife of a CIA operative, this Long Island mother and drama teacher has proven to be an asset in the field before. And as an actress herself, her cover will be convincing.
Disguised as a television news host, Nora heads to Venice, Italy, where Rostova is appearing in Chekhov’s The Seagull. As the cameras roll during their mock interview, the starlet will make her escape—or at least that’s the plan. But when the defection goes off-script, the two women are on the run from Russian agents. And when a snowstorm buries Venice, clogging the streets, waterways, and airport, the stage is set for tragedy—with several lives at risk of a final curtain.
This is my 3rd go-round with a Tom Savage book. I reviewed Penny for the Hangman in September 2014 (and I'm still a little freaked by that one!), and Mrs. John Doe in October 2015. The current book, The Woman Who Knew Too Much, is a sequel to Mrs. John Doe.
On the face of it, one might think that there is no way the 'Company' would have the wife of an operative go on a mission, much less run one. But we have to remember that Nora impressed people in the previous book. And I couldn't help but chuckle that Nora calls Jeff's boss by his first name, while Jeff is strictly, "Yes, Sir," or "No, Sir". And Nora's theatrical skills suit her well to handle a defecting Russian actress. Why would the US give two bits about a foreign actress? Well, she just happens to be mistress to a corrupt Russian general.
Woman has all that I have come to expect from a spy thriller, including: two countries at odds, a 'situation' (in this case the defection taking place in a 3rd country), lies, betrayals, surprises and more close calls than you can shake a Glock at. But, there is even more than that. Nora and Jeff get a little romance woven into the story for them. We get to meet a few of their old friends (from their previous visits to Venice), as well as a Mother Superior who is not quite as Jeff described her to Nora.
One thing I was especially glad to see was Nora's concern for her team. I think a regular agent would a little more 'distant', by which I mean they accept the danger on the job - or they wouldn't be there. Nora had a whole village of people (including hosts, team members, Italian law enforcement, husband and the nuns) to be worried about, not the least of which was her daughter's gentleman friend
Mr. Savage has a great hand (or is that keyboard) with pacing in his novels. It kind of reminds me of my first experience on a roller coaster. The first drop just about scared me witless, more ups and downs followed. At the end, I exited the car, my legs hardly shaking at all, and smiled, "Let's go again!" And this is exactly the way I feel about Nora Baron and her moonlighting. Any time she is up for an adventure, so am I!
MEET THE AUTHOR
(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.)
PLEASE NOTE: This book is available for pre-order until it's publication date of March 28, 2017, which is next Tuesday, y'all!