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The Mercenary Reviews

The Mercenary by Paul Vidich

The Mercenary

Paul Vidich

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Thrillers, Fiction
Imprint: No Exit Press
Publisher: Oldcastle Books Ltd
Publication date: 18 Mar 2021
ISBN: 9780857304452

From acclaimed spy novelist Paul Vidich comes a taut new thriller following the attempted exfiltration of a KGB officer from the ever-changing and always dangerous - USSR in the mid-1980s.

4 stars out of 5
Adam LeBor
5 Apr 2021

" Vidich’s style is sparse but atmospheric"

The claustrophobia, tension and fear of Soviet-era embassy life is well portrayed. This is the fourth in a consistently excellent series of cold war spy novels from an author in control of both his story and its arena. Vidich’s style is sparse but atmospheric. Carefully deployed tradecraft and technical knowledge only add to the air of verisimilitude. But who is Natalya, a striking Russian ballerina who makes a beeline for Garin — and can she be trusted?

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
17 Mar 2021

"it can have few rivals for the grim authenticity of its setting"

This is Moscow in the mid-1980s, just before Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika. The former CIA officer Alek Garin agrees to return to Russia to orchestrate the CIA’s exfiltration of a defector. Things ended badly when he tried to bring out another agent some years earlier, and this time he is hampered by a mole in the Moscow station as well as by a KGB honey trap. Naturally, not all is as it seems. A power struggle is breaking out in Russia and the enigmatic Garin has hidden motives, but the tone is too subdued to fully engage the reader’s sympathies. Paul Vidich’s visualisation of time and place — people tracked with spy dust, a grey miasma overlaying all — is, however, masterly.