In this big-boned thriller, Meade makes his contribution to the distinguished number of first thrillers premised on the attempted assassination of a world leader (e.g., Day of the Jackal; The Eagle Has Landed) by imagining a CIA hit man targeting Josef Stalin. The main action, set in 1953, surges within a present-day frame in which Washington Post journalist William Massey tries to discover why his father, Jake, ended up in a Moscow grave more than 40 years ago. Eventually, Jake encounters Anna Khorev, the lone survivor of Operation Snow Wolf, who narrates the third-person flashback that forms most of the novel. In 1953, the U.S. government, fearful that Stalin is about to develop and use the hydrogen bomb, decides to eliminate him. The operation, headed by Jake, recruits Alex Slanski, aka Wolf, to do the deed, and Anna, who recently has escaped from a Soviet gulag, to be his guide. Though slow to build, the suspense hits overdrive when Alex and Anna parachute into Estonia, only to be hunted in turn by Major Yuri Lukin of the KGB. Meade writes with a silken pen, inking unusually sympathetic leads (though not wholly original ones; the blond Slanski, with his "cold blue eyes," clearly owes a debt to Forsyth's Jackal). Vivid cameos of historical figures, including Eisenhower, Truman, Beria and Stalin, lend credence to the story, which, according to the author, includes events of "documented history." The Cold War may be on ice, but through this literate, memorable story, Meade shows that it can still freeze readers' attention and chill their blood. Major ad/promo; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection; author tour. (June)
'A thriller of tremendous quality and excitement' -- Herald of Wales on Snow Wolf -- Herald of Wales 'A tremendous sense of dramatic action and page-turning excitement culminating in a riveting, thought-provoking climax! Meade's success is in leaving us with the thought that it just about could have happened' The Sunday Times on Snow Wolf -- The Sunday Times
History tells us that Joseph Stalin died from a cerebrovascular accident in 1953. But what if he had been the target of an American assassin? A best-selling Irish author debuting here, Meade builds on fact and mixes historic figures (Truman, Eisenhower, Allen Dulles) with fictional characters in this nonstop story of Operation Snow Wolf, approved in the Oval Office to avert the nuclear war threatened by the increasingly irrational Soviet leader. But despite the planning of Jake Massey, the CIA's best, and the skill and courage of operatives Alex Slanski and Anna Khorev, the mission is compromised early on, leaving Slanski and Khorev at risk not only from the KGB but from Massey, who's under orders to stop them. Meade weaves the tale skillfully, cutting back and forth across continents and ideologies, and adds depth with sympathetic antagonist Maj. Yuri Lukin. Lots of bodies, a little romance (only blood ties are truly heart-stirring), and twists and turns make this worthy competition for Ludlum and Forsyth. Great summer reading.-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L, Arlington, Va.