The Coilby Gayle Lynds
"A FAST-PACED, THRILLINGLY PARANOID, PAGE-TURNING INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURE, AND INTRIGUE AT ITS BEST."
YOU CAN'T RUN FROM THE PAST...
Professor Liz Sansborough, former CIA operative and daughter of notorious Cold War assassin, Carnivore, thinks her old life is dead and buried. But her father's legacy is impossible to escape./b>/b>/b>
"A FAST-PACED, THRILLINGLY PARANOID, PAGE-TURNING INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURE, AND INTRIGUE AT ITS BEST."
YOU CAN'T RUN FROM THE PAST...
Professor Liz Sansborough, former CIA operative and daughter of notorious Cold War assassin, Carnivore, thinks her old life is dead and buried. But her father's legacy is impossible to escape. The kidnapping of her cousin Sarah sounds the warning. The ransom: Carnivore's legendary long-lost files.
YOU CAN'T HIDE FROM THE TRUTH...
They're said to hold the deadly secrets of his profession. Now they're being used to manipulate the world's most prominent leaders-a global plot that plunges Liz and undercover agent Simon Childs back into the kill-game, and trapped between a kidnapper's demands and a blackmailer's mysterious agenda...
WHEN REVENGE IS IN THE BLOOD.
Rescuing Sarah is only the beginning. Because the trail is leading Liz and Simon into the shadow of an impenetrable cabal known only as the Coil-and into the heart of an international conspiracy that knows no mercy, and is leaving no survivors.
"Breakneck pacing, generous helpings of suspense and intrigue, and a plot with more twists than a bag of pretzels...will leave readers begging for more."
- Dale Brown, author of Flight of the Old Dog and Air Battle Force
"The Coil is fast-paced, thrillingly paranoid, page-turning international adventure and intrigue at its best!"
- Dean Koontz, author of Odd Thomas and Whispers
"Smart, complex, and immensely entertaining. The surprises start on the first page and keep coming all the way to the end. The Coil is sure to be a bestseller!"
- Thomas Perry, author of Pursuit and The Butcher's Boy
"The Coil is a terrific read, exactly the kind of fast-paced espionage thriller that I love. Great characters, a turbo-charged narrative full of surprises, dark and fabulous settings what more could you want?"
- Douglas J. Preston, author of Brimstone and The Codex
"The Coil is a triumph - an absolutely compelling international thriller that confirms Lynds as being right at the top of the field. If you already know Lynds' work, then prepare yourself for what is definitely her best book yet; if you've never read Lynds before then I envy you, you are in for a real treat."
- David Morrell, author of The Protector and First Blood
"In this thrill-a-minute tale of secret operatives and hired assassins, Gayle Lynds proves once again why she's the leading lady of international intrigue. Her dead-on research and breakneck pacing leave you like former CIA agent Liz Sansborough navigating a maze of deadly agendas. Beware the Coil!"
-Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Kill Clause and Do No Harm
Read an Excerpt
The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
Once you have the rabbit,
you no longer need the snare.
In one of his trademark conservative suits, Gino Malko strolled through the rue Sa"nte-Catherine area in the heart of the lower city, enjoying the cool sunlight of the northern spring as he swung his special ebony cane with the silver handle. From time to time, he threw back his head, shut his eyes, and let the sun warm his face, somehow avoiding the other walkers as if he had built-in radar.
Eventually, he turned into a café, Le Cerf Agile, and sat at an outdoor table covered in white lace.
The eager waiter bustled over. "Good morning again, monsieur. Another fine day, eh?" he asked in English. "Your usual?"
"Thank you, Ruud," Malko said, smiling, playing his role.
Malko was a heavy tipper, so the waiter returned quickly with café au lait and a Belgian pastry. Malko nodded his appreciation, poured from the two silver pitchers, stirred, and bit into the pastry. He leaned back at his ease to watch the passing throng of locals, NATO personnel, businessmen, tourists, and EU staff members. It was early for tourists, but the fine spring weather had attracted a swarm.
He was on his second pastry when he spotted the target. He casually picked up his cane and moved naturally into the stream of pedestrians. Apparently, the density of the crowd forced him to hold the cane upright.
In the normal course of things, he bumped into one or two people, including his target, expressed his horrified regrets each time, and finally, as if the crush were too much, turned back toward the café.
A woman screamed. Everyone looked in her direction. Near her, a tall, slender man with a Mediterranean complexion had collapsed on the sidewalk, his hand clutching his chest.
As Brussels' thick traffic surged past, people converged. They shouted in French, Flemish, and English.
"Give him air!"
"Call the paramedics!"
"Can anyone administer CPR?"
"I'm a doctor-stand aside!"
Now back at his table at the café, Malko sipped coffee and chewed his pastry and watched as the doctor dove into the riveted throng. The spectators whispered into one another's ears and peered down. As Malko finished his pastry and dusted his fingers, a shiver of horror swept around the circle.
Almost immediately, a man in shirtsleeves fought his way out, dialing a cell. His face was pink with excitement. "There's been a tragedy on the street in the rue Sa"nte-Catherine district!" he reported in French. "Heart attack-a doctor just said so. What? Yes, he's dead. Important? Hold your hat: It's EU Competition Commissioner Franco Peri! Get it on the air at once. Yes, the lead. Pull whatever else you have off!"
Gino Malko smiled, left euros on the lace-covered table, and headed off, cane swinging. He would be back in his hotel in five minutes. Checked out in ten. And in fifteen, taxiing to the airport.
The University of California
It was after nine o'clock in the morning, and Campbell Hall was crammed with students sitting in row after row, rising toward the back of the amphitheater. Liz Sansborough studied them as she gave her last lecture of the summer term. There was something about their indifferent, interested, scrubbed, dirty, sleepy, alert faces that radiated hope.
They reminded her of her years at Cambridge, when she was their age and searching for a clue, too. She would probably continue to search until she keeled over from work and the occasional but necessary martini. The fact that they showed up class after class made her optimistic that they would not quit the hunt either.
"Marx claimed violence was the midwife of history," she told them. "But fascism wasn't created by an aristocracy any more than communism was by a peasantry. Both were the result of political ideologues, from Trotsky and Lenin to Hitler and Mussolini, and each political system was born in violence. They and their followers resorted to 'overkill' out of ideological intoxication-a substitute religion, if you will-to create a new world and a new human. In the cases of Stalin and Hitler, they used terrorism and violence not only against other armies but against civilians, including their own, just as dictators do today. Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the al-Qaeda network are modern examples." She paused to let the summary sink in, then smiled. "All right, now it's your turn. Where do you think all of this fits in with what we've been talking about in terms of the psychology of violence?"
She watched their feet shuffle and their gazes lower. The hands of the usual suspects shot up, but she wanted someone else to show some mettle.
"Come on, brave-hearted souls," she coaxed. "Who wants to take a wild stab?" A few more hands rose. "All right, you look as if you'll have something interesting to say." She pointed a finger. There was no seating chart for such a large lecture class, and although she recognized the twentysomething, she was unsure of her name.
The young woman had a sheet of pale blond hair that hung straight, masking half her face. She tossed her head to free her eyes and mouth, perhaps even to breathe. She said earnestly, "Adult aggression and violence can stem from early-childhood experience, Professor Sansborough, but that's not always the complete explanation."
"In fact, that explanation could be construed as too easy," she said, gaining confidence. "A cheap shot. 'Good' people sometimes get seduced into violence by situational forces. They . . . they get caught up in a violent moment, and their real selves sort of get lost." She stopped, groping for more.
Liz nodded. "In other words, their personal identities get suspended in a kind of moral disengagement. They use justification and interpretation to legitimatize their actions. Ergo, the 'herd mentality' and the 'power of the mob' and how an average person can wind up doing something despicable and violent and evil that they'll never forget and may never be able to forgive themselves for. . . ."
For Liz, the rest of the lecture sped past. When it was over, she was feeling wired. She gathered her notes and stuffed them into her briefcase. She was not supposed to have taught today. In fact, she should be in Paris right now, taking some vacation time with Sarah and Asher. But in the end, she had been unable to make herself leave this final lecture of the summer session to her assistant. It was too important. In it, she summarized everything her students should have learned, and if they paid attention and went back over their notes, each had a very good chance of not only doing well on the test but actually learning the material.
The lights dimmed in response to California's latest energy worries, and the auditorium emptied quickly. As they often did, a few stayed to walk with her across the grassy campus to her office.
"But shouldn't the 'good' person resist the power of the mob?" one asked.
Tall eucalyptus trees swayed in the ocean breeze. The air smelled fresh, of sea salt and sunshine. Liz breathed deeply, enjoying the summery morning, enjoying her life.
"Absolutely," she agreed. "But with that, we're getting into ethics."
"It's not an easy thing to do," another said quietly. "To resist, I mean."
"Right," said a third. "When the surf's up, sometimes you've just gotta dive in."
"And sometimes not," Liz reminded them. She liked their questions. They were thinking, which was the major point of an education, as far as she was concerned. "Ask yourselves what it takes to say no when everyone else is insisting yes. Once you start to consider how you'd like to behave, you begin to build up a savings account against the times when you face difficult decisions, and you will face them."
"I'm really glad you didn't get sucked completely into the TV thing," the youth who liked surfing said. "I mean, it's great you're still teaching."
"I can't imagine I'll ever quit," she assured him. "Now that we've got a professional producer and crew for the series, I have more time for you."
They smiled and peppered her with questions about the new episodes on the Cold War that would be aired.
"You'll have to be patient," she told them. "I'm sworn to secrecy."
They liked that and laughed. When the small group reached the psychology building, she shooed them on their way. One young man was particularly sweet. He had a crush on her and was often among the group that stayed late.
Tongue-tied, he managed to mumble, "Great lecture, Dr. Sansborough," before shuffling off.
Liz pushed in through the door and climbed to the third floor. The building was faded pink concrete, utilitarian, without pretense, which she liked. The corridors bustled with staff and students. When she arrived at her office, Kirk Tedesco was inside, leaning back in her chair, his big Rockports propped up on her desk.
He was reading TV Guide. He lowered it and grinned. "Hi, babe. How was the howling mob?"
Her office was cluttered with books and papers. Kirk was the calm in the center of the research storm. She smiled in greeting. "Sharp as little tacks." She closed the door and dropped her briefcase onto the floor next to her gym bag.
"Right. In your wildest." Kirk was a psych professor, too, specializing in personality disorders. He was so easygoing that his scholarship was on the light side, but he was friendly and fun, and she had grown to depend on his companionship.
"No, really, Kirk," she told him. "This is a great class. They're interested in the subject. I'm glad I stayed for them. Paris can wait until tomorrow."
He picked up TV Guide again and waved it at her. "Nice article in here about you and the new season."
She took it from him, pleased. The first four shows for this new series were in the can, the next three were being filmed, and she was researching future ones. Her gaze ran down the story:
Sansborough's Cold War Series Is Back!
One word-and a simple image-said it all. Last month, posters that read "July 29" in scarlet red, with "Top Secret" stamped across in black, plastered New York City's bus shelters. No photos. No title.
But to aficionados, it was a code that sent shudders of delight that the wait for Dr. Liz Sansborough's sleeper hit, Secrets of the Cold War, to return was almost over.
A Compass network executive revealed that among the chilling Cold War situations to be aired was that of a leading CIA official's illegal tampering with presidential politics. Also on tap was a hushed-up FBI scandal that included a KGB defector who was a master of disguise.
In just three years, Dr. Sansborough's series has grown from a local cable show into an underground sensation.
As for next season, the psychology professor tantalized us with the prospect of juicy details about some of the Cold War's most elusive and deadly players-global assassins such as the renowned Abu Nidal and lesser-known, but many say mythical, figures like the Carnivore and the Abbot. . . .
"Good coverage," she agreed, and tossed it back at him.
"It's more than that. Someday your face is going to be as famous as Julia Roberts's. You're already a hell of a lot prettier."
"And you're full of blue sky." But she grinned, grateful, because he had been a reluctant supporter of the series.
The window in her office looked back over the campus, north toward the sawtooth peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains. She was high enough up that no one else could see her. She peeled her shirt over her head and stepped out of her trousers.
"Nice jogging bra," Kirk said. "Nice thong bikini."
She ignored him and stepped into her running shorts. "Aren't you getting bored? You drop by to see me do this three or four times a week, you and your lame excuses. You've got too much time on your hands, Kirk. Hey, you didn't even bother with an excuse this time." She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and slipped a band around it.
"Definitely not bored. And I have a very good excuse." He lowered his feet to the floor and advanced on her. He was a square man, early forties, nice big shoulders, going a little soft in the middle, which she found endearing.
"Go away." She shook her head, amused, and knelt to tie the laces of her shoes. "This is my jogging time."
"So I noticed. You look much more appetizing in shorts than in that prison jumpsuit you wear for karate."
With his cheerful face, freckles, and red hair, Kirk was easy on the eyes. They had arrived at UCSB in 1998, the recipients of two brand-new chairs funded by the prestigious Aylesworth Foundation. In the same department, and single, they had gravitated toward each other and become friends. The rest had developed slowly.
"So tell me what your excuse is." She jumped up and lifted her knees, loosening her muscles.
"The dean's summer bash. This afternoon, remember? It begins at three o'clock. Want to meet there, or are you going to let me pick you up?"
"Let's meet." She patted his shirt and gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
He grabbed for her, and she dodged.
"You're going to get all sweaty," he warned, eyes twinkling.
"Looking forward to it, too." She found her sunglasses and visor.
As she locked her door and zipped her keys into her fanny pack, he ambled to his office.
Eagerly, she ran down the stairs and out into the hazy California sunshine.
When it was ten o'clock in the morning in California, it was seven o'clock in the evening in France. As Liz Sansborough left for her run in Santa Barbara, some six thousand miles away Sarah Walker and Asher Flores strolled across the lobby of their Latin Quarter hotel, holding hands.
They were a handsome couple, somewhere between the ages of thirty-five and forty. He had curly black hair and a strong face, with the kind of sharp gaze that was never fully at rest. She was tall and lanky, with short auburn hair. A dark mole just above the right corner of her smiling mouth gave her a dramatic air, and the small finger on her left hand was crooked, hinting at some past athletic endeavor gone amiss.
They had arrived in Paris the night before and checked into her cousin's favorite hotel. Her cousin, who was joining them for just three days, had postponed her arrival until tomorrow. Neither Sarah nor Asher was the type to wait around. They had gone sight-seeing, visiting the Louvre and other traditional tourist places for which they had never had time, and returned to change for dinner.
The night portier caught sight of them through the glass lobby door. He pulled it open and bowed. "Mademoiselle Sansborough," he greeted her. "A pleasant surprise. I did not realize you were staying with us again."
Sarah shot him a smile as she headed out under the awning. "Sorry, but I'm not Liz Sansborough. She was delayed."
Astonished, the doorman hesitated as if expecting the woman to laugh at her own joke. He quickly touched the brim of his cap. "Apologies, madame. Please forgive." He noted the gold wedding band on her ring finger.
"Don't worry about it," Asher Flores said genially as he followed. "They're cousins, and they look so much alike everybody gets them confused."
Sarah suddenly shook her head. "Oh, damn. I left my purse in the room. Do you have your credit cards, Asher?"
"A passel of 'em," Asher assured her. Then to the doorman: "Think it's going to rain? It's been threatening all afternoon." He stepped out from beneath the awning to check the sky. Layers of cumulonimbus clouds were roiling black and brown. Raindrops splattered down, and the metallic scent of ozone filled the air. "Well, that answers that." He jumped back under the awning's shelter.
"Allow me, sir." The doorman reached behind the door and produced a large umbrella. He popped it open and presented it to Asher.
Under its shelter, Sarah put her arm through Asher's, and they walked off jauntily just as the heavens opened and sheets of chilly rain pounded down. Drivers turned on their windshield wipers and headlights, while pedestrians ducked under awnings.
Sarah laughed. "So much for an easy, relaxing time in the Gallic sun."
"Do you think this is punishment because we haven't been back here together before this?"
"You wish. We're not that important to the gods."
"We are to me." As traffic rushed past and the rain made a noisy tattoo on the umbrella, he impulsively pulled her close and kissed her.
Laughing, she threw her arms around his neck. Parisian horns saluted loudly.
Sarah had been reluctant to return to this city where so many ugly things had happened to them, but Langley had finally guaranteed Asher a month of uninterrupted vacation, and it was time to exorcise her demons. They needed to go away together, to renew themselves in each other, and what better place for romance than the two-thousand-year-old City of Light-and love?
She kissed him back eagerly, sinking into him, feeling warm and happy and carefree as they lingered in their private cocoon beneath the umbrella.
When he released her finally, she smiled into his eyes and said, "Let's find that bistro and have some dinner. I'm hungry."
Other pedestrians had disappeared into shops and stores, escaping the rising storm, and Sarah and Asher were alone on the sidewalk as they hurried onward. Thunder boomed, shaking the earth. Drivers continued at an insane speed, tires spouting dirty waves onto the sidewalk.
"Only one more block," Asher announced as they crossed a street. Their clothes were soaked.
"We can make it. I'm not totally miserable yet."
They jumped over a fast-moving stream, landed on the deserted sidewalk again, and increased their pace. The sky turned black. The cold rain pelted so fiercely that it slammed back up from the pavement. They dodged and rushed, growing chilled and stiff. At last, Asher spotted the bistro's sign: rouget de lisle. It was at the end of the block. He was gesturing at it, about to tell Sarah, when a black van suddenly screeched to a halt beside them, hiding them from traffic.
Before its wheels stopped, Asher's internal alarm sounded. His alert gaze slashed from the van across the empty sidewalk to the dark alley on their other side. Two men wearing ski masks and armed with handguns jumped out from where they had been pressed against the wall, hiding. Asher hurled the open umbrella at them.
They ducked, and he gave Sarah a violent shove to get her safely past. He whipped out the small pistol strapped to his ankle just as the van's door slammed open.
As he swung his gun to aim, Sarah spun back to look for him. Her water-streaked face froze in horror as she took in the well-coordinated attack.
As he opened his mouth to bellow at Sarah to run, there was the muffled pop-pop of silenced gunfire. A bullet crashed into Asher's chest. Out of nowhere, a giant seemed to grab him roughly and hurl him backward. He landed hard. His arms and legs sprawled and his head hit the sidewalk. His gun flew from his hand. His eyes closed.
Sarah screamed, "Get away from me!"
Her voice barely penetrated his pain-filled mind.
"Asher!" she called frantically. "Are you all right? Asher! Let me go to him!"
There were the scuffling sounds of struggle.
"Merde!" one of the men swore.
"She's a tiger," another agreed in French.
Asher tried to open his eyes, to roll over, to get to his feet. Fight. Save Sarah. A massive cauldron burned in his chest. He raged helplessly, inwardly.
"Get Walker into the van!" one of the men shouted. "Hurry!"
"Asher!" Her longing cry stabbed his heart.
In a frenzy, Asher struggled harder. Felt himself move. His palms dug into the wet pavement.
Before he could push himself up, powerful hands smashed his shoulders back down. Someone cried out in pain. Him?
A voice spoke harshly into his ear: "If you want to see your wife alive again, Flores, get us the Carnivore's files. You and Langley have four days. No more. The Carnivore's files. Say it."
This man's words were English, the accent American.
Asher tried to move his lips. He pushed out air. "Carnivore," he managed. "Four days." The Carnivore's files? What files? "Impossible!"
But the hands were gone. Car doors banged shut and wheels shrieked.
Wild with fear, he roared, "Sarah!"
p0There was no answer. The rain was unrelenting, pummeling his face, filling his ears as he struggled to get up. Falling back, he choked and coughed and grew icy cold. He pictured Sarah in his mind, went over each detail of her face, heard her melodic voice, felt her lips brush his cheek. Aching for her, terrified about what they would do to her, he felt weakness sweep over him, then darkness.
Copyright 2004 by Gayle Hallenbeck Lynds
Meet the Author
Gayle Lynds is the author of the New York Times bestselling thriller Masquerade, as well as the novels Mosaic and Mesmerized. With Robert Ludlum, she is the author of three of the bestselling Covert-One novels, The Hades Factor, The Paris Option and The Altman Code. After a varied career including stints as a journalist, an editor, and at a military think tank where she had Top Secret clearance, Lynds is now a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, novelist Dennis Lynds, in Santa Barbara, California.
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Masquerade leads you directly to The Coil! The characters who intrigued, set you on the edge of your seat, made you bite your nails, and sent you sliding down in your chair are back again! Sarah, Asher, and Liz are, once again, trying to stay ahead of a force intent on getting the Carnivore's Files. IF they exist. Did he die in the explosion, or is he alive? The Coil will do for you what Masquerade did ~ give you a good read!!
I have enjoyed this authors work previously. However, this book while entertaining, seemed to drag. It was far too long.
My Own Created Quote: The Coil is taut, it slackens and releases its tension... not knowing how stretched the coil can become... nor when it will be taut again. (JAKL) In THE COIL, author Gayle Lynds has created a tantalizing, suspenseful drama of global intrigue, with a brilliant writing style. Lynds' book will no doubt be one of the top performers in espionage and intrigue. Lynds instantly peaks the reader's interest within the opening pages, traveling from scene-to-scene, chapter-to-chapter with ease in following the author's ingenious connections of events in relation to each other, encouraging the reader to continue THE COIL to the end. Just when the reader is hooked on a probability, it becomes a possibility that does not become a reality. There is no opportunity for the reader to chance a viable guess to the outcome. Characters make their appearance, some are murdered, others come and go - never knowing who is to be or not to be trusted. Liz Sansborough, Professor in Psychology Department, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a past intelligence agent, begins to spin backward into a world she thought was left behind five years ago. An abduction of her look-alike, cousin Sarah and attempted murder of Sarah's husband Asher, while on their vacation in Paris; several attempts on Liz's life, a suspicious sudden 'hold' placed on her TV series -- 'Secrets of the Cold War', plus a break-in to her office research files are the beginnings of a tailspin into her past. The peaceful five years she created begin to shatter. The story evolves around a search for special files... 'the Carnivore's files'... once belonging to Liz's father and his past as an assassin. An organization of high-power Titans - a.k.a. The Coil - each a controlling power assigned password names such as Cronus, Hyperion, Themis; wanting world-wide globalization, but specifically the Carnivore files, before the organization can reach its goals. Liz Sansborough's character is astute and discerning, strong and determined to survive the investigation and search for the file, the organization behind it all and the compelling desire to put an end to complex events. Caught in a high wind, the windmill revolves faster and faster, uncovering a whirlwind of events. Liz Sansborough again faces individuals from her past and into the present among which are: cousin Simon; Kirk Tedesco; Angus MacIntosh; Nicholas Inglethorpe; Gino Malko; Aunt Tish; Cesar Duchesne. The reader struggles along with the heroine to determine... who's the bad or who's the good guy? who is friend & who is foe? Liz Sansborough and the reader continue throughout the gripping fast-paced pages until the ending. Or is it the end...?
The Coil has kept me up way past my bedtime for the past two nights. Every time I think I've figured out who's behind the conspiracy, something happens that changes everything. The Coil of intrigue gets tighter and tighter. And tighter. And I keep pushing to read a few more pages until I realize it's 2 a.m. and I have to force myself to put it down. The Coil moves at a lightning pace. The best spy novel I've read in years. Two thumbs way up!!!
WOW! Have the oxygen bottle close. This one will take your breath...and keep it. Starts with a bang and then...the intensity just builds and builds...until it's the last page...and then...leaves you out of breath and wanting to do it again. Great work Gayle. Can't wait until next time. I'm keeping the oxygen bottle handy. Steve Gandy WINNER of Advanced Reader Copy
With no Cold War, the agents of globalization are the central foes in ¿The Coil¿ by Gayle Lynds. Former CIA agent, Liz Sansborough and undercover MI6 agent Simon Childs cross over England, Scotland and France attempting to recover the secret files of the ¿Carnivore,¿ one of the most successful and infamous Cold War assassins. The files are said to contain details on many high profile hits ordered and paid for by powerful politicos and industrialists. The ¿Carnivore¿ also happens to be Liz¿s father. Whoever currently possesses the long lost files is using the info to blackmail eminent world figures and leaders---not for money, but to promote a secret agenda. Liz and Simon are not alone is chasing the files. There are the kidnappers who have her cousin, a shadowy group of powerful corporate leaders known as The Coil, and eventually the CIA and MI6 disavow Liz and Simon and leave them twisting in the wind. In this complex tale of international conspiracy, espionage, blackmail, deceit and conniving few are what they appear to be. Trust is impossible, self-reliance the best weapon. At times the more Liz and Simon learn, the less they know. After many misdirections, the parallel plots of the search for the files, the kidnapping and the incredible power and reach of The Coil converge for a powerful ending. ¿The Coil¿ is high-octane suspense with imaginative and intelligent protagonists versus determined villains with unlimited resources. Suspend some disbelief and enjoy a smart, complicated novel of international suspense.
Rating System: 1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten 2 star = poor; a total waste of time 3 star = good; worth the effort 4 star = very good; what writing should be 5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with others STORY: Ex-CIA agent Liz Sansborough finds time running out as she races around with MI6 agent Simon Childs trying to recover files kept by the notorious assassin, the Carnivore. The two of them must dodge assassins and attempt to save Liz's cousin Sarah Walker from kidnappers as others race to find the files too. MY FEEDBACK: 1) I didn't feel at any point that I needed to have read the first Liz Sansborough book, Masquerade. This was a nicely self-contained story. 2) Key in this book is the plot twists. You never know who is to be trusted but at not time did I feel like the author was jerking me around. Nice surprises at ever turn. 3) Warning...sexist comment coming (hehe): I've read several female authors who tend to shy away from action scenes or rush through them. Ms. Lynds handles these scenes very well and gives plenty of violence for those of us that like chase and fight scenes. 4) Characters are likeable and you learn to care for them. My only complaint was at first I was thinking, 'oh, great...another beautiful character who is very intelligent, can speak multiple languages and can kick butt on a navy seal.' I soon forgot about this as the author revealed Liz's weaknesses, making her abilities less extraordinary so that she doesn't become a comic superhero. OVERALL: I enjoyed my Advanced Reader Copy. This was a very well paced, action spy story with lots of mystery. Well worth the time to read.
In order to be successful a good thriller must have a complex plot that grabs you by the throat with the opening paragraphs and doesn't let go over the ensuing 400 pages, a sympathetic lead character, and interesting locales from around the world. Gayle Lynds' new thriller succeeds tremendously on all accounts. Liz Sandsborough was a secondary but pivotal character in Lynds' first thriller, Masquerade (1996). Her cousin Sarah Walker took center stage in that book, which focused on the hunt for the Carnivore, an international assassin. Now, their roles are reversed with Liz being the lead character in The Coil. Following the death of the Carnivore, Liz retired from the CIA and took up an academic position at U.C. Santa Barbara, teaching a course on the psychology of violence. With Sarah's kidnapping in Paris and a simultaneous attempt on Liz' life in Santa Barbara we're off and running. It seems the Carnivore may have left behind detailed records of his many 'hits', including client names. A ruthless blackmailer appears to have the files and is systematically extorting and murdering the Carnivore's clients. The Coil, a secretive group of the world's elite politicians and businessmen, also wants the files, and thinks that Liz has them or knows how to get them. Liz and Sarah--and Sarah's husband, Asher Flores--are caught between these unseen forces. Liz must rescue Sarah with little understanding of who has kidnapped her or why. She soon learns that she can trust no one as additional attempts on her life are made. Fortunately for Liz, her path soon crosses that of another cousin Simon Childs, an MI6 agent working deep undercover to keep tabs on the anti-globalization movement--and whose father committed suicide rather than submit to the blackmailer's demands. Simon is now a rogue MI6 agent as he conducts a personal search for the blackmailer. The action shifts from California to Paris to London to Brussels to Bratislava and finally to Scotland. Lynds expertly weaves in interesting discussions of the morality of violence and globalization, topics not usually encountered in the genre. The pace never flags, with bodies piling up and unexpected plot twists and turns. Lynds does not take the easy way out of making her vilians one-dimensional and all-out bad. Their original motives are high-minded, but you know what they say about how the road to hell is paved. Lynds has crafted her best book yet. The Coil is a full-throttle thrill ride from start to finish.
For those Ludlum fans who mourned his recent death, fear not for Gayle Lynds is more than his successor....she IS the definitive thriller writer of the 21st century!!! THE COIL is an incredible sequel to MASQUERADE is far superior to anything she has written in the past. It's truly outstanding! If, for whatever reasons, MASQUERADE was lost on your reading list of 1996, please grab it and read it first before devouring THE COIL as it'll just make reading this remarkable book that much better...and how lucky you are for that double experience...not to have to wait eight long years as we all did for this brilliant sequel. Rarely do sequels live up to their hype but this one does! All of the characters that started out in MASQUERADE are fully developed in THE COIL. The complex labyrinth of plot and characters is simply amazing and such a treat to read. Hopefully, given proper marketing by her new publisher, Gayle Lynds' THE COIL will hit the charts from day one. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! And I'm so glad that this is a nice thick juicy book as there are many side plots, many fascinating subjects she brings up and ones that demand your further exploration. The research on this book is phenomenal! I, for one, cannot wait for the third book in the Carnivore series and I only hope that it will be soon!!!! Thanks, Gayle, for many hours of pure delight!!!!
Liz Sansborough has come out of the cold to make a life for herself as a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She feels that her past as a CIA field operative and the daughter of the notorious Cold War assassin Carnivore is yesterday¿s news........................... However, though she believes her heritage and work experience is ancient history, others disagree starting with an assault while riding her bicycle. Afterward, she learns that someone has kidnapped her cousin vacationing in Paris. The ransom is the lost files of Carnivore that allegedly contains numerous murders of prominent people. The problem for the beleaguered Liz is that she does not even know if they exist or are just an urban legend. As she reluctantly returns to her former occupation teaming up with British undercover agent Simon Childs, they begin to uncoil the Coil, but as they get closer to these bigwigs the danger rises and the death count grows.............................. Though one must wonder how Liz can go about her espionage work refusing to carry a gun in spite of swimming in a sea of red, fans will enjoy her sense of humor that surfaces at odd moments to lighten an intense story line. The plot moves at a rate faster than the speed of light so that even Robert Ludlum would be amazed. Espionage thriller fans will want to go along for the ride that returns a great protagonist (see MASQUERADE) whose past will not allow her to hide in the pillars of academia as she prefers................................... Harriet Klausner
Gayle Lynds strikes a best seller with THE COIL, her newest espionage thriller. While her mentor, Robert Ludlum, proved he was a practical visionary who used his novels to warn the public of political corruption at the highest government levels, Lynds has found a unique signature in this genre, apart from the books she has co-authored with him. She brings more human dimension to the chess game of ¿what ifs¿ in her novels. She delves into specific psychological and physiological conditions, which interplay with her protagonists¿ inner conflicts and novels¿ plots, to educate her readers about real experiences that happen to real people. In her first three novels¿Masquerade, Mosaic and Mesmerized¿she has dealt with the effects of Asperger¿s syndrome, cellular memory and conversion disorder. In THE COIL, Lynds explores the psychology of violence in the betrayal of the world¿s `haves¿ versus the `have nots.¿ Heroine Liz Sanborough is a psychology professor, who is forced out of retirement to return to spying for the CIA to rescue the two people she loves most. At least she believes she is working for the CIA when her look-alike cousin, journalist Sarah Walker, and her CIA-agent husband, Asher Flores, are kidnapped in Paris. Their ransom? A disk of zipped files Liz¿s father compiled. They detail targets and clients he worked for as an independent hired assassin code-named Carnivore. Either before or after Carnivore died in an explosion, someone pilfered his files and is blackmailing powerful figures to manipulate the globalization of trade and multi-national mergers. The kidnappers believe Liz has them and want the files to launch their own agenda of control over the world¿s economies. As the bodies fall and the suspense builds, Lynds¿ maze of intrigue spirals into ever evolving deceptions that isolate Liz and force her to realize that the CIA is not running or protecting her and her cousins. Enter another of Liz¿s cousins, Simon Childs, an MI6 agent. He is also pursuing the Carnivore¿s files because he believes they will lead to his step-father¿s murderer. Together they search for the secret group of conspirators whose influence reaches up to their chiefs in the CIA and MI6. The closer they get to recovering Carnivore¿s files, however, the more ¿The Coil¿ isolates them until it finally traps them in its web of ultimate betrayal. Even if Liz and Simon find the files in time to save Sarah and Asher, ¿The Coil¿ cannot let any of them live to identify the members of its diabolical inner sanctum of world power. Throughout the chase to find the files, Liz grapples with her longing to trust someone and her belief that violence begets violence. She refuses to carry a gun, determined to battle her adversaries with wit and surprise martial art moves, until her lack of firepower almost costs the lives of her cousins when she flubs a rescue attempt. At this point, the pros and cons to physical violence pitch Liz headlong into the realm of realistic possibilities. So, while suspense drives the reader to stick to the story until the very last page, it is impossible to close another Lynds¿ book without thinking about the underlying human condition this novel explores. Gayle Lynds not only deserves to carry on Robert Ludlum's torch in espionage thrillers, she enriches his brilliance with responsive revelations. After reading THE COIL for instance, where will we stand on the issues of violence, as a person and as a nation? How long can we afford to let the question go unanswered? THE COIL won¿t let us forget. And if we¿re not prepared to decide, Lynds shows us the consequences of our collective apathy in the real world. She makes us think, and in doing so, makes a difference in our lives.
The Coil - 5paws Gayle Lynds St. Martins; Apr. 2004; 448 pp. Liz Sansborough has built a new and happy life in Southern California, where she¿s a university professor, specializing in the psychology of violence. She¿s so opposed to violence that she won't even carry a weapon. She has left her past and her work with the CIA behind her and prefers it that way. When her look-alike cousin, Sarah, is kidnapped, Sarah's husband Asher [a CIA operative] is severely wounded, attempts are made on Sarah's life, and those around her are killed, Liz is on the run - first to France. Her primary objective is to rescue Sarah, but fulfilling the kidnapper's request requires her to go looking for something she did not believe existed - - her dead father's files on the assasinations he carried out. A clandestine international organization, based on a real-life one, will risk everything to find those same files. With the help of another cousin and left out in the cold by her old employer, Liz must try to unravel an increasingly complex cast of characters. Gayle Lynds has written a tight, dizzying thriller that caused me to lose a lot of sleep; she has picked up where Robert Ludlum left off and Clancy sometimes falls short. Even with the clues strewn throughout the book, this one will keep you guessing page after page. Well done, Gayle! [and be sure to read about the research that led to the book when you're done!]