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The Contractor

      "A truly compelling contemporary spy thriller."


      "This fine espionage procedural should please spy
and adventure fans alike."
Publishers Weekly.

Booklist Full Review:

      MacKinnon’s latest, following Morning Spy, Evening Spy (2006), sprawls from Washington to Siberia, Istanbul, Dubai, and points in between to tell a tale of the efforts of a shadowy Pakistani engineer and his terrorist sponsors to acquire an “Islamic bomb.” The contractor is Rick Behringer, a telecom security consultant and contract agent for the CIA. Because the Agency has lost a political turf war, Behringer is pretty much the only CIA agent who can stop the Pakistani’s scheme. If that sounds James Bondish, it’s not; in fact, it’s an eerily plausible story. The Pakistani engineer is presented as the protégé of A. Q. Khan, who sold nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea; meanwhile, the U.S. has outsourced human intelligence in Turkey and the Persian Gulf to a Blackwater-like private company. There is a wealth of fascinating detail here about telecommunications, signals-intelligence wizardry, and post-9/11 realpolitik. Behringer is fully fleshed, and the subplot concerning his CIA analyst father’s suicide is nicely meshed into a truly compelling contemporary spy thriller. Thomas Gaughan.

Publishers Weekly Full Review:

      Middle East expert MacKinnon (Morning Spy, Evening Spy) puts a fresh twist on the stolen suitcase-nuke plot in this smart thriller. Rick Behringer runs Global Reach Technologies, a company that designs communications systems, but his real job is as a contractor to the CIA. Rick specializes in what is known as foreign matériel acquisition, which means he buys weapons illegally from other countries and passes them along to the CIA. The money is good, and Rick has a strong sense of patriotism, but mostly he likes the adrenaline high that comes with this outsourced spy work. When Rick comes across a Pakistani, Ahmed Sajid (aka the Engineer), who's attempting to acquire nuclear material from a Russian gangster to build an atomic weapon for terrorist purposes, Rick's CIA handlers push him to investigate. Soon Rick finds himself in serious trouble. This fine espionage procedural should please spy and adventure fans alike.