First line: "The wind rose and fell through the airshaft, roaring so loudly it seemed the building was breathing."
Yael Azoulay works for the United Nation's Secretary General. When he needs someone to go in and broker a behind-the-scenes deal, Yael is the one he calls.
The most recent deal Yael made found its way to the New York Times front page--an African warlord guilty of genocide is offered a reduced sentence if he surrenders. Yael is accused of leaking the information and is put on paid leave pending an investigation. She knows her career with the UN is over and she's disgusted with the deal she was forced to make with the warlord.
When additional information falls into Yael's lap proving corruption in the UN and ties to the U.S. Secretary of State, she begins to discover that her negotiation was the first domino in a series of events that could result in mass murder for greed. She and her long-time body guard, Joe Don race time to prevent a horrific tragedy, but they are also on the run from a rogue group out to stop them at any cost.
Adam Lebor's fiction debut is a complex, twisting international spy thriller. I'm not an expert on the United Nations, but I found Lebor's depiction to be intriguing and believable, a great premise for a spy thriller. It opens the door to a wealth of options for character diversity, likely reasons to be in some of the most threatening parts of the world, and ample grounds for corruption and deceit.
Lebor created a strong, empathetic character in Yael Azoulay. The pairing of her with Joe Don is such that they use each other's strengths in their survival race. It isn't one saving the other with supernatural powers. Her interest in the New York Times reporter, Sami, is sometimes awkward because it seems to come out of nowhere--there's very little back story and she mentions him very sporadically. But it isn't integral enough to the focus of the plot to make a huge impact. Yael also seems to have quite a bit of unexplored layer to her, so I will be interested to see where Lebor takes her in the future.
The area I felt was the weakest of this novel was the detail. It is definitely not lacking in detail and there are times when it seems to unnecessarily slow the plot down instead of working with the momentum. The editing could have been significantly tighter.
That said, The Geneva Option is an engrossing tale steeped in current issues and technology. Lebor makes a strong fiction debut and I look forward to more from him and his capable female protagonist.
The Geneva Option released yesterday in trade paperback from Bourbon Street Books (ISBN: 978-0062208552).
You can get a sample of Adam Lebor's fiction style in his free ebook short story "The Istanbul Exchange," which also features Yael Azoulay.
My review is part of the TLC Blog Tour. You can see what other bloggers on the tour are saying about The Geneva Option.
Disclosure: In recent months I have begun doing some contractual work for one of the owners of TLC Blog Tours. My work does not involve this tour or any other tour I would agree to a part of here at the blog. Nor does my work with them obligate me to a specific kind of review. The reviews are still my own opinions and reflect only my thoughts on the novels. If you care to read more, you can find more information on my Disclosure page.