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Kathleen Kent. Black Wolf (Mullholland, $29.00).
A dazzling spy thriller about a female CIA agent whose extraordinary facial recognition powers lead her into the dangerous heart of the Soviet Union—and the path of a killer who shouldn’t exist.
It is 1990 when Melvina Donleavy arrives in Soviet Belarus on her first undercover mission with the CIA, alongside three fellow agents—none of whom know she is playing two roles. To the prying eyes of the KGB, she is merely a secretary; to her CIA minders, she is the only one who can stop the flow of nuclear weapons from the crumbling Soviet Union into the Middle East.
For Mel has a secret; she is a “super recognizer,” someone who never forgets a face. But no training could prepare her for the reality of life undercover, and for the streets of Minsk, where women have been disappearing. Soviet law enforcement is firm: murder is a capitalist disease. But could a serial killer be at work? Especially if he knew no one was watching? As Mel searches for answers, she catches the eye of an entirely different kind of threat: the elusive and petrifying “Black Wolf,” head of the KGB.
Filled with insider details from the author’s own time working under the direction of the U.S. Department of Defense, Black Wolf is a riveting new spy thriller from an Edgar-nominated crime writer, and a biting exploration of the divide between two nations, two masterminds, and two roles played by a woman pushed to her breaking point, where she’ll learn that you can only ever trust one person: yourself.
From the Author:
I grew up in Texas, but lived and worked in New York for twenty years. Upon returning to Dallas with my family, I made the decision to begin writing full-time, and in 2008 my first novel, The Heretic's Daughter, was published. The book is now in its twelfth printing and published in 17 countries. That novel was followed by two more works of historical fiction, The Traitor's Wife and The Outcasts.
My first love has always been historical fiction, but when I was asked to submit a short story for a contemporary crime anthology, Dallas Noir, I became so intrigued by the main character, Detective Betty Rhyzyk, that I developed the story into a full-length novel. This first novel in the Det. Betty series is titled The Dime, and it was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2017. The Dime was followed two years later by The Burn, which was also nominated for an Edgar: The Sue Grafton Memorial Award for a strong female protagonist. The third Detective Betty novel, titled The Pledge, was published in 2021.
The heroine of the Det. Betty series was developed in part from my personal experiences with members of my family who are in law enforcement, and my growing admiration for the female police officers who are forced to confront "the way things are done in the South." It was immensely fun to develop a fearless female character who stands up for herself, and for all women, and to bring to life the sprawling, fractious city known to Dallas locals as Big D.
A Russian spy novel, Black Wolf, based in part on my experiences as a contractor for the US Department of Defense, will be released Feb. 2023.
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