Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Chasing Ivan' by Tim Tigner

The movie star handsome, ‘man’s man’ Tim Tigner comes to his role as a novelist specializing in political intrigue with a rich background. His academic preparation is a combination of mathematics and philosophy with psychology and radiology, but after academia his instinct for investigation and thrill seeking led him to serve in the Green Berets, specializing in Russian and Soviet counterintelligence. When Perestroika/Glasnost ‘opened’ Russia (or at least by their definition made it more transparent) led to the fall of the Berlin wall, Tigner’s direction shifted from espionage to arbitrage and he moved form Russia to Brussels where he witnessed the formation of the European Union: his change in focus shifted back to the US and further degrees in business and International Studies and settled in the Silicon Valley as a corporate type in the medical device industry. And as if that background weren’t sufficient he continued his travels around the world expending energy as scuba diver, skier, actor, mountain climber, a hand glider, a parachuter, and in every sense of the word an adventurer. Now he follows his obsession with reading thrillers by writing them.

Having read most of Tim’s novels it always comes a surprise that he doesn’t repeat himself. There are ‘recipe format espionage books’ – keep one central character everyone recognizes then populate the story with the expected clones of ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ people. That is where Tim steps aside like a matador and creates each novel with a fresh outlook and cast. And so evolved the Kyle Achilles series available in a box set of the first three novels. And to add to that, Tim offers a Prequel.

To fully appreciate even this brief novella, knowledge of the three main novels helps. But the synopsis of this equally fine book follows: ‘Europe's smartest criminal, versus America's best spy. And then there's poor Emily, stuck in between. Rumor has it there's a Russian you can turn to if you're very rich, and need dirty deeds done without a trace. The CIA calls him Ivan the Ghost because he's operated for years without leaving a trail or revealing his face. Until now. For the first time in history, Ivan appears to have slipped. The CIA's new director sets Agent Kyle Achilles on an intercept course, surveilling the daughter of a British politician. Then Ivan pulls off a masterful con, and Emily vanishes. With Emily's life, his career, and America's reputation at stake, Achilles partners with an unlikely new agent he meets in France. Together they attempt to get one step ahead of the legendary Russian, while rubbing elbows with the ultra-rich in a high-tech international chase.’

And so we are off and running with Kyle Achilles - another thriller by the gifted Tim Tigner. He writes so well that one could quite easily become addicted. Smart, sophisticated and always with a surprise at the turn of every page, Tigner simply has it. Grady Harp, March 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.