Triangle of Death: Deep Cover II

Overview

Rene Villarino, Levine's closest friend and fellow deep cover agent, has disappeared while working on a top secret assignment. His mission was to find the source of a dangerous new drug making rare but deadly appearances among the young hip club crowds of Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. The drug, known as the White Queen, is genetically engineered to affect the sexual centers of the brain with an intensity that makes it one of the most addictive substances ever to hit the streets. When Levine finds Rene's ...
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Overview

Rene Villarino, Levine's closest friend and fellow deep cover agent, has disappeared while working on a top secret assignment. His mission was to find the source of a dangerous new drug making rare but deadly appearances among the young hip club crowds of Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. The drug, known as the White Queen, is genetically engineered to affect the sexual centers of the brain with an intensity that makes it one of the most addictive substances ever to hit the streets. When Levine finds Rene's brutally tortured body in the Argentine Pampas, he sets off on a personal mission of vendetta and retribution, a path from which he vows not to sway until he brings Rene's killers to justice - even if it means he must singlehandedly take on the largest criminal organization in the world. For Levine suspects that Rene's killer - and the source of the White Queen - is the Triangle of Death, a criminal organization of terrorists, Nazi war criminals, and mafiosi. Levine must penetrate the secret organization, working alone and in secret, since the Triangle of Death appears to have infiltrated the intelligence services of both the United States and France. With the help of the Israeli Mossad, Levine takes over the identity of Arab gangster Omar Legassi. In his new identity, armed only with his wits and martial arts skills, he sets out to follow his friend's last known footsteps. His single-minded quest for revenge will lead him from the back alleys of Miami to hidden jungle laboratories in the Amazon and then deep into the covert world of spies and terrorists of Europe and the Middle East. Levine's turbulent, action-packed mission ultimately leads to a breathtaking face-to-face confrontation with the head of the Triangle, a woman known as the Queen of Cocaine: the exotic Nadia, whose beauty is matched only by her capacity for evil.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on cases he worked during his 25 years as a DEA agent, Levine reunites with Kavanau (coauthor of Levine's bestselling memoir Deep Cover, 1990) to tell a tale of anti-drug derring-do that's as mean and rapid-fire as a dope dealer's Uzi. In the manner of Richard Marcinko, Levine casts himself as the narrator/agent who goes undercover to tangle with a South American drug cartel with Nazi connections and the Middle-Eastern oilmen who plan to exchange black gold for white powder. The stakes are vengeance for the slaughter of one of Levine's colleagues, and the multibillion-dollar market promised by a new form of cocaine, the White Queen, which prolongs sexual ecstasy. Levine's characterizations are believable, if not deep, and he makes an appealing hero as a man searching for justice in a world that no longer recognizes the concept. The action is exceptionally furious, and brutal, told in pulp style. What gives this thriller its edge, though, is Levine's world-class knowledge of the drug business and of its lawful, too often squabbling, enemies. Author tour. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In 1990, Delacorte published the best-selling Deep Cover, Levine's nonfiction account of his findings as an undercover agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Noting in the preface to Triangle of Death that secrecy laws prevent the revelation of "the truth behind many of the events that are the fabric of this book," Levine has invented an alter ego, also named Mike Levine, who puts his life on the line for the same causes. The enemies are brutal drug traffickers, devious insiders at the DEA, a Nazi-inspired female villain, and flocks of corrupt individuals. The good guys are fellow agents willing to bend rules and other men and women of honor and commitment. The catalyst that triggers Levine's desperate final act is a new drug, so powerful that it addicts users at once because it mimics orgasm. Levine's best friend, also an agent, is killed as he gets too close to the secret source. The violence is extreme, and the characters and action are over the top, yet the style and observations are skillful, realistic, and entertaining. The story is powered by vivid dialog. Highly recommended for libraries with a clientele that just can't get enough of shoot-'em-up justice. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/96.]Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Kirkus Reviews
Action, adventure, karate kicks, and just about every spy thriller cliché possible in a federal drug-buster's roman à clef debut fiction.

Casting himself as the hero of his own novel, former DEA undercover agent Levine (called "Lee-veen-ay" by one of his thickly accented comrades) gives his all to avenge the torture murder of one Rene Villarino, his best friend and fellow agent. Along the way, he spends a fortune in airline tickets, jetting briskly around the world as he beguiles Manhattan mafiosi, inscrutable Israeli spies, scheming Nazis, and unctuous Arab bad guys along the path to the Paraguayan headquarters of Nadia Ricoard, a lethal female crime boss and the manufacturer of White Queen, a superpowerful cocaine that variously stimulates sexual orgasm, transforms its victims into murderous fiends, or kills them outright. Readers of Levine's memoirs (Deep Cover, 1990; The Big White Lie, 1993) will recognize some thinly fictionalized scenes and grow weary of his tendency to portray those who question his reckless, high-spending methods as paranoid, backbiting incompetents. When he isn't dodging bullets with his hotheaded, street-savvy former partner Tito Garza, or romancing a sexy Mossad spy, Levine's globe-hopping brings out a nail-biting xenophobia: Everywhere he goes he uncovers sleaze, foul odors, and criminal types who eagerly betray God and country for a few hundred million dollars. The story becomes almost comically preposterous as Levine breezily becomes a high-rolling Arab drug dealer, wins effortlessly at blackjack, fends off numerous femmes fatales, and survives a deadly plunge down a waterfall. And all of this, Levine insists, is presented as fiction only because his former bosses won't let him tell the whole truth.

A bull's-eye for Rogue Warrior fans but not nearly as interesting, or entertaining, as Levine's nonfiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385314756
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Read an Excerpt

"Ren Villarino's gone missing," said Stratton flatly.

My heart sank. Ren was the only man I called friend.

"How? When?"

"You up on your cable traffic? Don't answer--you won't have to lie. Your secretary at the embassy said the telexes piled on your desk go back two months and she hasn't heard word one from you in over a month."

"Well where the fuck have I been?" I said, fighting to control my temper.

He glared at me, lifted a knee to rest the case, snapped it open and shoved a red jacketed cable at me. It was marked TOP SECRET, which meant national security was involved. I started to read it and felt guilty when I saw that it had been received at my office a week ago.

"Don't bother reading it now," said Stratton. "It's yours. Bottom line is Ren has been working a deep cover special out of Panama for the past eight months. Forty-eight hours ago he receives a call at his UC residence in Panama. Notifies his contact at HQ. He sounds rushed and excited. Says he's on to the source of this new drug--you'll read about it in the Teletype. They want him to come to Argentina to talk. He says he'll check in the moment he knows something. He arrives at Rio where he's supposed to change planes. He vanishes.

"We track his UC ID. He never passed Brazil Immigration. He either transited to another country using a different ID or boarded a private plane. We've eliminated all but a half-dozen private flights to Argentina and Bolivia. We can't go any further without risk of burning him."

"Why the fuck wasn't I notified about a UC operation in my jurisdiction? I'm still the Country Attach. I should've been coveringhim."

Stratton put his big hand up, like a traffic cop.

"Nobody told me squat either. You think I'd put a man out there without backup? This thing's been top secret for eight months. That's why I'm here and this ain't a phone call. I hear you two were close. You got the same fucked-up reputation--hotshot undercovers, loners. You like to do things your own way, don't you?"

I started to speak. The big palm rose again to stop me.

"Sooner or later your luck runs out and somebody got to come and pick up your fucking pieces."

"Say what you like about me," I said. "I know I'm no fucking hero in headquarters, but Ren does things by the book. I know him twenty years, he's never blown his cover. The guy's made more Mafia cases on his own than the whole New York FBI. Two days with no word could mean he's living with dopers. We go in we'll blow his cover."

"We're not going public," said Stratton. "And you're right: you're definitely no hero in headquarters. You don't follow rules, you're arrogant, you piss people off. Some people say you're a certifiable fucking loony tunes. Your mouth is usually running long before your brain. But your case record speaks for itself and whoever I talked to on the street all agreed on one thing--if they were jammed up, they'd want Mike Levine coming after them. I don't mind telling you, a lot of them don't even like you." Look, Bobby. The last UC bit I did with Ren he got stood up the last minute and asked me to play his bodyguard for one meeting with some Mafia capo in New York. A ten-minute meet. I was just supposed to drive and keep my mouth shut, like a good man. Window dressing. An extra.

"Ren rehearsed me for a week--how I should dress, jewelry, shoes, the kind of cologne I should wear, how I should position myself in the driver's seat. He checked every item I'd be carrying in my wallet and pockets, just in case we were searched. He checked my shirt for identifying laundry marks. For a ten-minute meet? If I didn't love the guy and respect the way he did things, I wouId've told him to go fuck himself. This is a guy who once went to Italy and bought himself a count's title to help bring off a scam. Ren is an artist, a perfectionist. Two days missing doesn't mean anything."

The big hand came up again. Stratton glanced over at the chopper. The engine blades were still whipping the air. The pilot stared straight ahead, unrecognizable in helmet and dark glasses. There's more. Ren was working with a CI, a Panamanian banker. He was hit this morning."

"How?"

"A fender bender on the street in downtown Panama City. The CI bends to check the damage--the driver of the other car pops him with a twenty-two behind the ear. Broad daylight and a dozen witnesses don't see a thing."

"That might not have anything to do with Ren," I said, desperately wanting to believe it. "Stool pigeons get offed every day."

Stratton shook his head. "Maybe, maybe not. Until we know he's okay we don't take nuthin' for granted."

"What about tasking NSA and CIA?"

"Done. NSA's programmed tapes of Ren's voiceprint into the system. He makes a call from anywhere, we'll have him....How do you get along with the head spook in Buenos Aires?"

"Forrest Gregg? Never had any problems with him. You know him?"

"I met him. The guy knows his job. He says he has a lead. When you get back to B.A. check with him first. Then turn your dogs loose--all your CIs, every cop on your payroll, all your counterparts. Get as many eyes out there as you can. I have some surveillance shots of Ren you can distribute."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. No photos," I said. "Ninety percent of these Argentine cops are for sale. If I put out photos and they know he's DEA, we'll burn him. Even if he's in trouble, Ren's a guy that can talk his way out of anything."

"You're right," said Stratton. "I should've thought of that."

For a moment I was taken aback. I'd never heard a DEA boss admit he was wrong about anything.

Stratton removed a manila folder from the attach case and handed it to me. It contained a typewritten list of names, each with a date of birth beside it and several copies of an eight-by-ten undercover surveillance photo.

The camera had captured the handsome Ren as he strolled down a crowded street with a man in a dark hat. Ren wore his black beret, his dark hair fashionably long, curling just above his suit collar. He smiled broadly, his big hands gracefully gesticulating in a typically Italian gesture, as if describing a beautiful woman. Just behind were two heavies in dark glasses--bodyguards. Several stores and a restaurant were visible with signs in Italian.

"He looks a little like that Italian movie actor in this photo," said Stratton. "I forget his name."

"Marcello Mastroianni," I said. "Back in the '60s, when Mastroianni was a big star, people used to stop Ren on the street and ask for his autograph."

"The other dopers in this photo are dead," said Stratton. "You can distribute it if you think you need to. The list is all the aliases Ren's been using."

I looked down at the smiling face of my friend in the photo and wondered what he was thinking at that moment. Did he feel the slightest chill of apprehension? I believe that there are key moments in life when we are warned of danger. We must stay alert for them, remain open to vibrations, to premonitions, to primal senses no longer understood--the tiny ripples on a still pond. There are no second chances.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2001

    Real or Fiction - Walking a very fine line

    Truely a masterpiece and a must-read. Could not put the book down except when my children demanded my attention. From beginning to end, a captivating and exciting book. Stays in one's mind as book you cannot help but wonder and guess which parts or real and which are fiction. The more of it is true, the scarier the real world is !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2000

    YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Once you start reading you wont be able to put down this MASTERPIECE. 'Triangle Of Death' is by far the best book I've ever read. Michael Levine combines REAL-LIFE accounts with fictionalized specifics to bring to life one of the most gripping stories to ever make it out of the realm of national security. If you would like to know what life is like for the men and women who put there lives on the frontlines of the 'Drug War,' I urge you to READ THIS BOOK!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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