Antonio Mendez is the former chief of disguise for the CIA.
A recipient of the CIA's Intelligence Star of Valor and the
Trailblazer Award, he is the author of Argo and The
Master of Disguise. Visit his website at
Jonna Mendez is a twenty-seven year veteran of the CIA who served as a technical operations officer and chief of disguise. She and her husband Tony live in Maryland with their son, Jesse. Learn more at TheMasterofDisguise.com.
Bruce Henderson is the author of Fatal North and the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell. He lives in California.
Retired CIA disguise expert Antonio Mendez (The Master of Disguise) teams up with his wife, also a former agent, to reveal how they fell in love during a highly critical mission in the waning years of the Cold War. Antonio and Jonna shift back and forth in their account as separate assignments eventually converge in the extrication from Moscow of a high-ranking KGB mole, jeopardized by the traitorous dealings of men like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. Fans of Alan Furst's WWII espionage novels will appreciate the subdued nature of this thriller, where the stakes are always high but the individual actions are usually low-key, as well as the details the Mendezes provide on the art of eluding surveillance. The title is a red herring although "spy dust" was a real element of the KGB's operations against foreigners in Moscow, its role in this story is of a background nature. The climax hinges on a much more old-fashioned game of cat and mouse. There are a few weak spots in the narrative, where the authors (or their collaborator, true-crime scribe Henderson) try to recreate scenes at which they weren't present, but for the most part this is an entertaining thriller with the added virtue of being true. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Christy Fletcher, Carlisle & Co. (Sept. 17) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"Spy dust" is a chemical marking compound developed by the KGB (Soviet secret police) to help track targeted individuals. It is just one of the tools and techniques discussed by the authors, who headed up the Disguise and Documents Division of the CIA's Office of Technical Service and are now consultants for the CBS TV drama series The Agency. The authors met in the mid-1980s while helping to rebuild U.S. intelligence operations in the USSR, which had been severely crippled by American traitors selling secret information to the Soviets. Included here are fascinating tales of clandestine meetings, narrow escapes, missed clues, ingenious equipment, and various successes and failures, and the reader soon comes to realize that a lot of professional brain power goes into planning and carrying out this deadly game with the highest stakes imaginable. There is a glossary of spy terms at the end of the book, but a map of Moscow would have helped. This interesting and easy-to-read tale complements Antonio Mendez's The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA and is suitable for the espionage sections of both public and academic libraries. [Index not seen; Atria Books is the new name for the hardcover division of Pocket, a division of S. & S. Ed.] Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Admiral Stansfield Turner former head of the CIA A true story of
spying with all the suspense and intrigue of a James Bond
Publishers Weekly An entertaining thriller with the added virtue of being true.
Booklist An endlessly fascinating book, one that spy buffs will return to again and again.
Hayden B. Peake curator of the CIA's Historical Intelligence Collection For CIA staffers, the changed names will be both frustrating and challenging as they attempt to sort out individuals and operations. For those who want a sense of what really takes place in the field when magicians from the Office of Technical Services are involved, Spy Dust is a rewarding experience.
Kirkus Reviews A real-life pleasure for fans of John le Carre and Tom Clancy.