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The Billion Dollar Spy
The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman (History/Biography)
I enjoyed this book immensely. Drawing on numerous interviews and recently declassified documents, Hoffman's latest book is a must-read for aficionados of Cold War spy thrillers but it's non-fiction. Few other works describe in such detail what it meant to run American agents in Cold War--era Moscow: elaborate ruses to fool the KGB, tests to determine whether a promising new agent was in fact a plant, and constant tension between demands for more information and the need to protect agents. At the center of Hoffman's story stands the Soviet radar expert Adolf Tolkachev, who was deeply disillusioned with the Soviet system and determined to hand over whatever secrets he could to the United States. To a remarkable degree, he succeededuntil 1985, when he was betrayed by a disgruntled CIA employee. The picture of Tolkachev that emerges is complex. He sought large payments for his help, not to spend the money but simply to demonstrate his worth, while also gratefully receiving tokens of Americana for his son like a Uriah Heep album. Not only was his information about Soviet technology valuable, but so was his example: he demonstrated that good intelligence could be collected by old-fashioned espionage as well as advanced technology. He was killed, apparently, by a firing squad all because of an CIA drop-out named Howard. -- Added by billrye on 02/02/2016

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The Stranger
The Stranger by Harlan Coben (Mystery/Suspense)
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world. Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life. Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne's deception, and realizes that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he's stumbled into will not only ruin livesit will end them. Other than I didn't like the fact that they killed his wife, it was fine. -- Added by billrye on 01/30/2016

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Prayer
Prayer by Philip Kerr (Mystery/Suspense)
The first half of it was tremendous but the second half was vulgar and strident. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone. -- Added by billrye on 01/30/2016

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