Cold. Daniel Silva’s ninth Gabriel Allon thriller is titled The Defector. For fans, this book picks up where the previous novel, Moscow Rules, left off. New readers need not have read that book to enjoy this one, since Silva provides more than enough background to allow the current novel to stand on its own. Protagonist Allon is an Israeli spy and murderer and a talented art restorer. The action in this novel pits the evil arms dealer Ivan Kharkov against Allon in a classic battle of good versus evil, or in this case, killer versus really bad killer. The title refers to Grigori Bulganov, a Russian dissident who defected to Great Britain, and whose disappearance brought Allon out of his semi-retirement. Readers looking for an escape novel that doesn’t require much thinking are likely to enjoy The Defector for its fast pace. The extent of the murders and violence in each Allon novel has built to the point where the pleasure of the novel’s thrills for me is damped by all the bloodshed. The coldness within Allon and his ruthlessness make him less than the hero he could be, and may lead me to hesitate before reading another novel presenting him as a hero.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)