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Whirlwind    by Joseph R. Garber order for
by Joseph R. Garber
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Irina Kolodenkova and partner, agents for the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), a Russian intelligence arm, break into a United States Air Force facility. What Irina finds on the computer screen is a bonus. Quickly downloading the item to disk, they escape carrying stolen elements that are part of a secret project called 'Whirlwind' with the ultimate classification of 'Magma Black'. Irina escapes but her partner is shot. Retired CIA agent Charlie McKenzie receives a phone call from Washington. Sam, the national security advisor, offers Charlie an assignment.

Charlie was double-crossed by the system after his last job, the Kahlin Hassin debacle. The Senate investigation committee bought the package of charges levied against Charlie, a 'lamb to the slaughter'. He was lied about, railroaded, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Sam made sure that Charlie took the rap. Charlie has a daughter, sons, and grandchildren. His beloved wife Mary died from leukemia, while he was in prison, and he was not permitted to visit his dying wife or to attend her funeral. So he drives a hard bargain. Knowing that Sam is not trustworthy, Charlie insists on a payment of $20 million deposited to his Swiss account, plus a full pardon and apology in recognition of his innocence in the Hassin affair. He also demands that his ex-son-law be fired from his job and barred from any future lucrative positions. It takes little time for Charlie to locate Irina ... meanwhile Sam has other official agents out looking for both Irina and Charlie.

Joseph Garber gives us a magnificent rollercoaster ride of ongoing action with strong lead characters, and poetic expression ... 'Her features were contorted with pain, her unfeigned tears sea blue in prismatic sunlight.'. He pulls no punches. I can see Whirlwind as a movie, and will not hesitate to put more of Garber's books on my reading plate.

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