“The Night Agent” by Matthew Quirk features Peter Sutherland, an FBI agent, and Rose Larkin, someone he meets through work. Readers gain insight into Sutherland’s public personality through his friendly banter with fellow employees. He has a deeper private side resulting from a past family impropriety that haunts him constantly. He is careful about the rules, avoiding even the slightest hint of impropriety, but no matter how faultless he is, he cannot not escape that nagging past.
“It was a long time ago, but there were moments, like now, when the past would come at him so vividly, a stab of pain. It was like stepping on a tiny piece of glass a month after you thought you’d swept up all the shards.”
Sutherland works a night agent, covering the phones, holding down the fort while everyone else sleeps. His job is important, more important than he knows, even though 284 nights have passed without a phone call. He spends his working life tied to that phone that never rings, and then, one night at 1:05 AM, it does.
“He’s here. He’s inside. He’s going to kill me. It’s happening in six days. We have the red ledger.”
Characters are genuine and sympathetic. Readers follow Rose and Peter; their everyday actions are intermixed with the out-of-the-ordinary and terrifying. Both are playing with hidden cards. There are other participants as well, and the narrative goes slightly back and forth in time to look at both spies and spy-hunters. Who are these people? What are they are doing in the time surrounding specific events? What is their function and purpose? How much do they know and what did they pass on? H how did they get to where they are without people discovering their deception? Everyone at every level has both something to hide and something that should be made public.
Little details draw reader into the setting and action. The tension is palatable.
“Two steps. The floor flexed beneath her. The shadows shifted under the door. She clamped her eyes shut. The man moved closer, and the knob rattled softly as a hand closed around it.” “The Night Agent” is a thrilling game of international politics, espionage, and treachery that reaches into the highest levels of government. I was given a review copy of “The Night Agent” by Matthew Quirk, William Morrow, and Edelweiss. Readers will never quite know who is to be trusted and who is to be feared and will keep turning page after page to find out