After 2013’s lackluster The Quest, Nelson DeMille is back in top notch form with a chilling new thriller featuring his popular protagonist, John Corey. As yet another anniversary for 9/11 looms, New York City is once again the target. This time, however, the terrorists behind the attack are neither AL Qaeda nor ISIS, but America’s longtime nemesis Mother Russia. DeMille’s plot is certainly timely. After more than 30 years of detente (even James Bond was working with the Soviets), the cold war is back and heating up. DeMille brings Russia’s threats right to our shores with a plan to detonate an atomic bomb in the New York harbor thus destroying, not only millions of lives and acres of real estate, but also the financial markets. Lower Manhattan would be uninhabitable for decades.
The mastermind behind this attack is Vasily Petrov, who has diplomatic status as Deputy Representative to the United Nations for Human Rights, but is really with the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) operating out of the Russian U.N. Mission. Petrov’s father is a former KGB general who had been awarded the Order of Lenin and had been named a Hero of the Soviet Union. Before leaving for the U.S., Petrov’s father told his son to succeed at his mission or not to come home. Petrov is determined to do his father proud.
Standing in his way is John Corey, a former NYPD homicide detective who once worked for the Ant-Terrorism Task Force and is now working for the federal government as a contract agent assigned to the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey’s job is to keep an eye on Colonel Petrov. So when Petrov’s Mercedes takes off for Long Island, Corey, his new partner Tess Faraday, along with two other agents, follow along. Petrov’s final destination is the Hamptons home of Georgi Tamorov, a Russian billionaire. With an ocean behind the mansion, Petrov has an escape route, so Corey, determined not to lose sight of his quarry, masquerades as part of the catering staff. Faraday insists on coming along and soon the two agents are serving food and vodka to the partygoers consisting of dozens of Russian prostitutes and burly Russians.
Corey’s instincts prove right when an amphibious vehicle comes on shore and whisks Petrov away, along with a Russian hit man, a dozen prostitutes and, most telling, a man later identified as a nuclear scientist. The race begins to find Petrov and stop a plot that would bring even more destruction than 9/11 did.
DeMille keeps the tension growing while the clock begins ticking. Along the way there are Corey one-liners, although with a story this terrifying, even those bits of humor can’t divert our attention for long. New York remains the number one terrorist target and the scenario that DeMille lays out should have the NYPD, Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, and any other government agency charged with the task of safeguarding our waterways reexamining all their procedures and tactical maneuvers.