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This book started out pretty strong, but really picked up the pace at the end.  It takes place 6 or so years after a terrible (fictitious) terrorist incident in Vienna in a restaurant in hoity toity Carmel, California.  There, Henry Pelham, who has been tasked with determining if there were a mole in the Vienna CIA office during the incident, interviews Celia Harrison, who had been his lover when the incident occurred, but who retired right after the incident, married a much-older very rich (obviously) man, and had 2 children with him.   So this is both a personal and professional reunion.

 

I don't really want to say much more.  If you like thrillers that are more intellectual than action, this one if for you.  I figured out the very first layer, more or less, pretty early on, but there were twists upon twists and I did not figure all of them out right away.  By the time I realized what was going on, I was glued to the book and couldn't wait to read to the end.  

 

If anyone reads this, please answer the questions in the spoiler.  

First question:  What do you think happened at the very end?  Do you think "natch" is a clear enough answer that Henry authorized Celia's murder or do you think the assassin didn't feel comfortable killing her with that kind of a response?  Second question:  What do you hope happens?  Since Henry was the mole, I think he's the one who probably should end up dead.  On the other hand, I feel like he did all the wrong things for her and all she says is "wrong decision."  So probably she should be offed for that.  Third, do you think she ever really retired?  Is she still CIAing it in other ways?

 

 

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"1) I don't know if Celia got it. It could go either way. I go back and forth. Probably what the author wanted.

2) I hope Celia got it also. Henry could have just been shot.  Instead, she conspires with CIA hitmen to poison him and then stay around for the ride. She even asked him several times if he was OK,  knowing he was dying.  How disingenuous. Henry likely deserved it because his actions led to the deaths of 120 people. But, he did it to save her life. If confronted with the situation, but instead her children were at risk, we know damn well what she would have done. What would any of us do?

3) I think she did retire, but this "event" will propel her back into the CIA. I think she misses the rush and who knows, maybe she'll start screwing around with Karl with a K, another loathsome character.

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