Saturday, March 15, 2008

Double Agent

The Death Merchant battles the KGB, unsurprisingly, in THE KGB FRAME, #12 in Pinnacle's long-running paperback series. After wiping out a few hundred mobsters in MANHATTAN WIPEOUT, Richard Camellion is relaxing on his private Texas range when a squad of eight CIA agents invades with assassination on their minds. Despite his name, the Death Merchant captures them after a big firefight, and learns that he has been tagged for assassination after an audiotape turns up at Langley that appears to expose him as a traitor.

In reality, KGB agent Rybak, in the United States posing as a reporter for Pravda, has engineered a frame-up using advanced audio technology that allows him to fake a recording without any tell-tale splices. Camellion, knowing he'll have to expose the frame in order to clear his name—and save his life—first invades the State Department building in Washington, D.C., disguised as an elderly man, to find a list of Soviets staying at the embassy in the archives, but Rybak anticipates the Death Merchant's plan and ambushes him.

More shootouts occur, including an invasion of the Death Merchant's New York City apartment, leading up to his climactic fight with Rybak atop the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico. Credit author Joseph Rosenberger with this well paced action tale that reads cleanly and concisely in just a couple of hours. It also ends on an urgent note, as Rosenberger sets up the next Death Merchant adventure, which would be the awesome THE MATO GROSSO HORROR.

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