Monday, January 14, 2013

The Right Hand - Derek Haas

I apologize. I thought I had posted this review earlier, but looking back I see I did not. My review of Derek Haas' The Right Hand appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers back in December. I'm reposting here with their permission.

First line: "He smelled wood burning, and also flesh, like a pig roasting on a spit, and only then did he realize he was on fire."

When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, it can deny all accountability. Austin Clay is that right hand doing what the U.S. Government doesn’t want to acknowledge. His mission in The Right Hand is to recover a field operative captured by the Russians, but against his handler’s permission Clay alters the assignment and attempts to rescue an innocent young Hungarian nanny AND the captured field operative. Unbeknownst to him, more than just the Russians are set to battle Clay—to the death—in order to stop him.

Derek Haas’ background in film writing (Wanted and 3:10 to Yuma) comes out in his visual panoply of action sequences that keep The Right Hand’s pace swift and intensity high. The sometimes-convenient circumstances, like a fully functioning motorcycle at an uninhabited dacha, are easy to overlook when the plot quickly propels the reader onto the next scene with well-placed plot twists and engaging characters.

Austin Clay is a refreshing addition to the world of literary spies. He’s a compassionate, complex character who makes mistakes and yet still succeeds in his field. Michael Adams, the newly appointed chief of EurOps, provides a strong counterpoint to Clay’s action-driven character. Adams is a strategist; he excels with data and codes and planning. The dynamics between these two characters illustrate a rich diversity in Haas’ world of espionage.

With any luck, The Right Hand is just the beginning of Austin Clay’s existence. Thriller fans will anxiously await his return.

The Right Hand is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780316198462) from  Mulholland Books. It is also available as an audiobook narrated by Kevin Stillwell from Hatchett Audio.

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