Allegiances. I read Stella Rimington’s latest novel, Illegal Action, in two sittings. She grabbed my interest in the first few pages, and then kept it with character development, plot, and reasonably fast moving action. As the former head of MI5, Rimington brings an insider’s expertise to her subject. In this novel, MI5 agent Liz Carlyle is assigned to the counter-espionage unit, where she takes on the case of a Russian oligarch living in London, who may be the target of a plot from Moscow to let all the oligarchs know they cannot escape the long arm of the state. Through the errors of her boss, missteps by colleagues and failures in communication, Liz herself becomes a target. It was especially interesting to see Rimington reveal some aspects of management behavior that show competence and some that show a cluelessness that can lead to disaster. Illegal Action provides much of what any reader of a spy novel wants: the machinations of behind the scenes controllers; a plausible and entertaining plot; enough twists and turns to keep the brain engaged, and a satisfactory resolution of tension.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)