Have you ever wondered how a foreign national is recruited to be a spy? Vaughn Sherman, a CIA operative for about two decades, gives an insider’s perspective on recruiting spies in his new novel, Sasha Plotkin’s Deceit ($16.95, trade paperback).
Chris Holbeck, Seattle heir to a tugboat empire, has been a CIA operative for about two decades when he is sent to Stockholm, Sweden in 1968. He moves there with his wife and three kids. Chris meets Sasha Plotkin, his KGB counterpart during a series of social occasions.
Sasha is disaffected by what’s going on in the Soviet Union but is equally displeased by US politics. He is looking for security, both financial and personal, and believes the US can give him that. This is during the unpopular Viet Nam war years. A plan to help Sasha defect is hatched by Chris, Sasha and the headquarters of the CIA. On the eve of the defection, Sasha disappears.
Chris’s marital situation has been in turmoil due to his frequent trips for the CIA without his wife, Lisa. Lisa makes a surprise announcement when Sasha is a no-show. Chris is shortly rotated back to the states and then to a two-year stint in Saigon. When he returns to Edmonds, WA after that rotation, he is called to Washington, DC. Sasha has reappeared and wants to defect again. Sasha will work only with Chris so it’s back to Stockholm. It’s 1972 and all that happened then is to play a part in what happens.
The spy parts of the story move along at breakneck speed. The pace slows down when dealing with Chris’s personal life. Chris’s mom and dad are great characters. You want to shake Lisa & Chris to get them thinking about their marriage.
Overall I give this book four stars out of five for reading enjoyment. You don’t have live in Washington State or even the Northwest to appreciate the story.
Buy. Read. Enjoy.
Jim Harris, retired book rep