I spent a lot of time with Russians when I was learning their language in the Air Force. That was a crazy, fascinating experience that left me with a lot of stray character traits I eventually molded into Vanya, the ex-KGB interrogator who is the protagonist of this story.
Also known as The Answer Man, he’s modeled partly on a legendary (most likely apocryphal) cold war interrogator who was supposedly able to get all the information out of his subjects without asking a single question. This version of The Answer Man is a little more sympathetic, however. Vanya has turned 53 and is beginning to regret the empty wasteland of his life. He’s reached that black mood of post middle-age where you stop recounting your victories and start wishing for redemption.
He seizes an opportunity for that redemption when he decides to save Lolly Graham’s life rather than leave her for the post-interrogation cleanup squad. That simple, irrational action kicks off a series of events that leaves a trail of bodies across Europe and the United States.
It’s a fun adventure that starts quick and never stops running until the last page.