The Sunday Spy

Overview

It is an unlikely combination of disasters that persuades Alan Trosper, the reluctant hero of William Hood's earlier novels Spy Wednesday and Cry Spy, to take up once again the tools of his craft: A State Department secretary, compromised by pornographic Russian surveillance photographs, is killed in a bizarre Central Park hit; and a former Moscow Center agent, now freelancing for himself, offers to sell evidence of the activities of a highly placed spy. The agent's letter also provides a clue that the security ...
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Overview

It is an unlikely combination of disasters that persuades Alan Trosper, the reluctant hero of William Hood's earlier novels Spy Wednesday and Cry Spy, to take up once again the tools of his craft: A State Department secretary, compromised by pornographic Russian surveillance photographs, is killed in a bizarre Central Park hit; and a former Moscow Center agent, now freelancing for himself, offers to sell evidence of the activities of a highly placed spy. The agent's letter also provides a clue that the security of the Firm itself may have been breached, and three of Trosper's former colleagues have come under suspicion. This compelling and utterly convincing story presents a new twist on the familiar theme of spy and counter-spy, for in place of the monolith of the Soviet Empire, Trosper now confronts an intelligence world fragmented beyond recognition, where agents scramble to attach themselves to new masters, where old allegiances cannot be trusted.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It doesn't take much-a discussion of the pros and cons of microdots here, a chat about the politics of espionage there-for readers to sense the absolute authority Hood (Cry Spy, 1989) brings to his third espionage thriller. And no wonder: for some of his 30 years with U.S. spy outfits, Hood was executive officer of the CIA's counterintelligence division. Now the Cold War is over, and Hood's returning hero, Alan Trosper, though no longer with the Company, is persuaded to act as the contact for a potential Russian defector, Sinon, and to verify his information-which promises to include the unveiling of a Russian mole. Trosper's investigation has him confronting the compromised officials whom Sinon has fingered and, in an effort to reel in the defector, journeying to Prague, where he runs up against an unpredictable chief inspector. While the questions the plot poses are worthy, and the atmospherics dead-on, the novel's structure tends to obscure them, by focusing on Trosper's various searches. What results is a spy yarn with plenty of thoughts, but not nearly enough thrills. (May)
Library Journal
Agent Alan Trosper makes his third appearance after quitting the spy business for the second time in Cry Spy (LJ 12/89). This time he is persuaded to rejoin the post-Cold War dance of international espionage and secret agents when a Moscow defector offers information that seems to establish Russian infiltration at the highest levels of "The Firm" and the U.S. diplomatic corps. When the defector disappears, Trosper is sent to find him and to check out his information. The tension mounts as the defector plays cat-and-mouse and his information proves true. The story progresses swiftly, moving from London to Prague to Washington to Moscow and back while Trosper deals with double agents, the Czech police, traitors, and the FBI. As usual, Hood, himself a former OSS/CIA agent, provides a wealth of detail that makes for a convincing and satisfying tale. Recommended for all popular fiction collections.-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Lib., Hammond, Ind.
Kirkus Reviews
Alan Trosper just can't say no. The ex-spy protagonist of Hood's two previous thrillers (Spy Wednesday, 1985, and Cry Spy, 1989) once again responds with alacrity to a summons from "The Firm" (a smaller, more polished version of the CIA).

Trosper, supposedly retired and happily married to Emily, is recruited to review a bungled investigation into the possibility that someone at the Firm may have been feeding information to the KGB. The initial investigation had resulted in the dismissal of three senior agents, all of whom left proclaiming their innocence. Now a mysterious former KGB operative, cut adrift by the post- Soviet regime, is offering to sell the Firm hard evidence about unnamed American traitors. The Russian leads Trosper on a merry chase through post-Soviet Eastern Europe, eventually disclosing (as a sign of good faith) an American military attaché as a high-priced source of secrets for the Yeltsin-era version of the KGB. That case carries Trosper on to more important quarry: a highly placed figure in the State Department who has been a longtime ally of the Russians. They have killed at least once to protect him, and will do so again. There's a vividly described pursuit of a suspect through the streets of New York, crowded with Thanksgiving Day parade-goers, and a subtle, lethal minuet with the villains before Trosper can bring the case to a close. Hood, at one time the executive officer of the CIA's counterintelligence division, is superb at rendering the day-to-day business of spying, the months of tedium and moments of terror, but less good at shaping an interesting protagonist. Trosper remains more a collection of virtues than a convincing figure. And there's a Russian hit-person who seems rather too good to be entirely believable.

Still, as an intriguing puzzle and as a portrait of Russian and American spies navigating a greatly changed world, this latest from Hood lingers in the mind.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393039375
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.32 (d)

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