Reviews for Blowback

Kirkus Reviews 2013 September #2
Having told her real-life story in the memoir Fair Game (2007), former CIA agent Plame teams with Lovett, author of the Dr. Sylvia Strange series, to relate the adventures of undercover CIA operative Vanessa Pierson. Pierson is obsessed with tracking down the world's most dangerous terrorist, Bhoot, who is said to be stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in Iran. His location is secret, but his closest associate, a grim sniper assassin named Pauk, is roaming around, knocking off people who threaten to expose closely held secrets. Those targets include Vanessa's informers, the first of whom gets shot in the head in Prague in a meeting she was told to abort. Readers who have watched TV's Covert Affairs, featuring slightly perkier undercover agent Annie Walker, will pretty much know what to expect here. In her intense pursuit of justice, which takes her to numerous scenic locations, Vanessa goes against her superiors' orders and violates basic rules--including the one that you don't get romantically involved with a connection in the field. That leads her to a predictable dilemma in which she has to decide whether or not to trust her lover. However unoriginal it is, the book moves along briskly and intelligently, informed by the disillusionment Plame suffered in having her cover blown by the Bush administration. There are plenty of action scenes for Vanessa to fling herself into and, in this first installment in the series, a decently drawn, if not yet scare-inducing, villain. Making her spy fiction debut, Plame, with the seasoned Lovett's help, delivers a solid, entertaining thriller. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 May #1

Plame's career as a CIA operative was demolished after George W. Bush's White House blew her cover, but she's used her spy-worthy skills to craft an international thriller with Lovett, author of the Dr. Sylvia Strange series. Undercover CIA agent Vanessa Pierson wants to know who's in charge of building a nuclear weapon in Iran and how the identities of several sources have been unearthed, leading to their assassination. Certainly newsworthy.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 August #1

Plame, the now ex-CIA agent notably exposed by the Bush II White House, mines her experience as an operative in this debut novel. She shines a bright light on illegal international arms trading to show how its tentacles reach deeply into the intelligence activities of the West's spymasters. Vanessa Pierson, a high-octane heroine who may remind you of Sara Paretsky's impulsive detective V.I. Warshawski and the intense Carrie Mathison of TV's Homeland, has an uncanny knack for reading faces to gauge how much trouble she is in. She's on the hunt for a notorious nuclear arms dealer before he can launch a deadly attack. There's a dangerous love interest that pushes the mercury to explosive levels and a backstory that neatly fleshes out Vanessa's motivation and ambition. VERDICT Be glad that the plot closes with a strong hint that Vanessa will return in future epic hunts for criminal masterminds. Between them, coauthors Lovett, the creator of forensic psychologist Dr. Sylvia Strange and five suspense novels (e.g., Dark Alchemy) and Plame, have delivered a tightly wound, vigorously deployed thriller echoing the real-life stories of CIA agents and their enemies. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/13; see the Q&A with the coauthors on p. 90.--Ed.]--Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #5

Aided by Lovett (Dark Alchemy), former CIA agent Plame (Fair Game with Laura Rozen) makes her fiction debut with an able contemporary thriller centered on Iranian nukes. Plame's fictional alter ego, Vanessa Pierson, is waiting in a Vienna amusement park for a vital Iranian asset, Arash Farah, when she receives and ignores a text from headquarters to abort the rendezvous. Farah, who arrives late, reveals that he knows the location of an Iranian weapons facility, but before he can give exact details, a sniper shoots him dead. Finding herself in professional trouble after the murder, Vanessa gambles that Farah's widow can both escape to safety and help her identify the facility's geographical coordinates. Her willingness to take a creative approach to regulations extends to her personal life as well, making her a multifaceted maverick. Readers looking for a strong female lead will be rewarded. Author tour. Agents: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary (Plame); Theresa Park, Park Literary (Lovett). (Oct.)

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