22 November 2012

Review: The Right Hand by Derek Haas

Yesterday after cooking the bulk of today's holiday meal, I was tired but ready for some entertaining reading. Thus I turned to one of my trusted imprints: Mulholland Books. I gave the first paragraph of Derek Haas's The Right Hand a try. A couple hours later I was still reading, and I didn't move until I had finished.

The Right Hand introduces us to CIA agent Austin Clay, who has reputation for always completing his mission. He's used to working independently and on only the most secret of assignments. This level of self-reliance has made him a deadly force.

In a post-9/11 world, public eyes are on the Mideast, al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan, but Derek Haas reminds us that the U.S. government still keeps tabs on the old Soviet Union. When one of our agents in St. Petersburg goes missing, Clay is sent to retrieve him. Within hours of his landing in Russia, it's clear that this is anything but a straightforward search-and-rescue operation. Instead, Clay has entered a dangerous game of double agents and moles, betrayals and treason.

Although I'm not usually a fan of espionage novels, Haas won me over on several interlinked levels, especially the characters and the structure of the novel. Haas is a master at the slow reveal, which allows the tension in The Right Hand to grow in increments. The principal focus is on Clay, but we're also privy to other characters' points of view, which gives us a broader perspective on the situation and keeps us guessing.

Austin Clay is not quite your typical 1950s spy, and he certainly doesn't have a girlfriend in every capital city around the world. He's used to being totally on his own and has no qualms about killing, both in self-defense and to hide his trail. Yet, despite his violent streak, he has a sense of humor and also has the ability to empathize with others. It's true he has an almost superhero knack for getting out of scrapes, but isn't that the way it is for all the really good spies?

Derek Haas's The Right Hand is an action-packed thriller that takes cold war espionage into the twenty-first century. The Soviet Union may be dissolved, but the United States and Russia are hardly bosom buddies, and Austin Clay has the skills and resourcefulness to navigate the dark recesses of the spy's world. I hope Haas has more Clay stories to tell.

Buy The Right Hand at an Indie or at a bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
Published by Little, Brown / Mulholland Books, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780316198462
Rating: B+
Source: Review (see review policy)
t © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


rhapsodyinbooks 11/22/12, 6:46 AM  

I should try this. I love books set in Russia, but I am so tired of the Cold War stuff!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 11/22/12, 7:42 AM  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with the special people in your life. I count you and other bloggers in the things I am thankful for.

bermudaonion 11/22/12, 9:21 AM  

Wow, the fact that you sat down to read a paragraph and ending up reading the whole book speaks volumes!

Unknown 11/22/12, 9:44 AM  

Don't you love it when a book sucks you in like that? Thank you, now I know which book to get for my brother-in-law for Christmas (he's a big Vince Flynn fan, so this is right up his alley!)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

SuziQoregon 11/22/12, 10:37 AM  

I was surprised to see this review to day since I knew you'd just started it. Love it when a book grabs you like that. Clearly I need to get this one.

Stacy at The Novel Life 11/22/12, 10:45 AM  

oooo, this one sounds particularly good...and relevant to today's time ~ I just read an article about concern over Putin's honesty and agenda

btw, happy happy thanksgiving! I hope it's a wonderful day for you!

Howard Sherman 11/22/12, 11:58 AM  

Austin Clay sounds like an Americanized James Bond, with a few key differences.

Look out TBR list, here comes another one!

Daryl 11/23/12, 11:31 AM  

adding it to my list, thanks!

Julie P. 11/28/12, 8:28 PM  

I might have to hand this one over to my dad! Sounds like one for him.

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