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Top Hook Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the third Alan Craik and Rose Siciliano novel by Kent (pseudonym of a father-son writing team) and its falls into a predictable pattern of military-techno action, minus some of the usual suspense. With the villain revealed in the first chapter, the drama relies on the ensuing chase around the world, led by married U.S. Navy pilots Rose and Alan. As the novel begins, Rose is on a fast-track assignment to the astronaut program, and Alan is on his way to a coveted spook assignment with the CIA, but they find their idyllic careers derailed when a highly placed traitor in the CIA fingers them as spies to cover up his own actions. Rose and Alan are bewildered and angry, but the stink of treason is on them. Aided by some loyal and highly qualified friends, cops, FBI agents, naval officers and techno-specialists, they struggle against time, bureaucracy and a shrewd mole. Meanwhile, the mole is jarred into premature action by the blackmail threats of a mysterious woman who knows his secret and is resourceful enough to evade the squads of Serb hitmen sent to kill her. The skullduggery is set against the backdrop of a war between Pakistan and India and a confrontation between China and the U.S., and loaded with gunfights, sex, some snappy dialogue and the aerial hijinks of supersonic jet fighters. The high testosterone doses satisfy, but best is the complex and clever web of motive Kent weaves for the mole, which is just about the only surprise in this otherwise ordinary thriller. (June 4)Forecast: Kent's first two novels Rules of Engagement and Peacemakerwere dynamos, but this one only treads water. Sales should remain steady, but readers may begin slipping away if Kent doesn't adjust the level of suspense to match his consistently excellent action.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The father-and-son former naval aviators behind the Kent nom deplume again mix aviation and espionage as effectively as in Rules ofEngagement (1999). The protagonists here are husband-and-wife navypilots Alan Craik (of Rules and Peacemaker, 2001) and RoseSiciliano. Targeted by the intelligence establishment as scapegoatsfor the criminality of a revered senior operative, they discover thatsaving their "lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor," not tomention their careers, requires using all their resources to exposethe operation known as Top Hook. The authors' characterization andpacing remain superior, and they draw on their own experiences tovividly portray the post-Gulf War and, to some extent, post-9-11military establishment as well as the conflict of generations withinthe American intelligence community. The concept of thecharacter-driven thriller had seemed almost a contradiction interms--until recently, when in the hands of the likes of Gordon Kent,the descriptor has begun to make exciting sense. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 572 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (March 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440237491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440237495
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,011,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gordon Kent was (is, I suppose) two people, my son - Christian Cameron, author of TYRANT and WASHINGTON AND CASEAR and other books - and me. The reason for the pseudonym was the obvious one that two names on a cover were not thought as good as one. And of course the one needed to be anglo and male; my suggestion of Max Cohen got nowhere, as did several dozen others we trotted by the publisher. Eventually, we settled on Gordon Kent: Gordon was my father's name, my son's middle name; Kent, oh, well.

We wrote eight novels - the Alan Craik books - under this pseudonym, starting with NIGHT TRAP (RULES OF ENGAGEMENT in the US, probably one of the most overworked titles there is) and ending with the much darker (and more satisfying) SPOILS OF WAR and THE FALCONER'S TALE. The books were about the air side of the US Navy, mostly about intelligence, but with a lot of derring-do that real intel officers never get to play at. They were usually fun to write because we'd both been in the navy, my son a good deal longer than I; we had our differences, as any two people must, but it was a surprisingly workable relationship. Lots of long-distance telephone calls, occasional meetings to go fishing and use the time in the car to plan books. We worked from outlines made on those trips, then divided the scenes up - we quickly learned who did which sorts of scenes and which characters better - and then we wrote and exchanged files and bickered and praised and wound up with a book.

Is Gordon Kent finished? We wonder. We're both writing our own books now under our own names, but occasionally we feel a nudge to go back to that partnership. Maybe, maybe....

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Everything looks great to Alan Craik and his spouse Rose Siciliano. The CIA appears ready to tap him for a highly regarded espionage position and the astronaut school has accepted Rose. Much faster than their rise to the top is their collapse caused by the machinations of someone else.

A woman in Venice blackmails CIA treasonous mole George Shreed. Panicking and already over the edge with his wife near death from cancer, George needs a fall guy who would have been on the project but not quite visible and with little protection to dub as the double agent selling secrets to the Chinese. He selects Rose. His covert actions lead the CIA to stop the promotions of Craik and Siciliano pending the results of an investigation into the activities of the duo. Their careers come to a halt but refusing to idly sit by as the taint of treason is painted on them, Alan and Rose begin their own inquiries into what short circuited their lives.

The third Craik-Siciliano thriller is loaded with action, action, and more action somewhat at the cost of character development. The story line emphasizes the shoot em up thrill a paragraph that never slows down, but for new readers Alan and Rose never seem quite real. Strangely the double agent is probably the most complete player in the tale as the audience understands his fears, doubts, and motives. Fans who enjoy an energizing espionage thriller will want to read Gordon Kent's latest global stimulating novel.

Harriet Klausner
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By A Customer on June 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well plotted thriller that keeps you wondering right up to the end. There are plenty of action scenes, and a good deal of carrier off the deck sequences in the book. The writers' naval experience shows.

Basically, everything is going great for the Craiks (for about 50 pages), then the government goes after both of them with a vengeance.

I think that once the government comes after you though, it is pretty hard to get things turned around. There will always be that taint and suspicion lurking in the background. Who knows maybe that is what the authors plan for the future.

A very pleasant read.
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By Nick Brett VINE VOICE on November 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the third in the Alan Craik stories and while you don't have to read the previous two, I would suggest that Peacemaker would be worth reading first.
Fast paced, perhaps the authors have spent less time on the characters and more on the action, and this works if you feel comfortable with the characters from previous novels. If, however, this is your first Craik novel then you might find that the characters are glossed over and the authors assume you understand the relationships.
Having said that, an in context of the three novels, I enjoyed this and look forward to more.
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By A Customer on July 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This was my favorite of the three Gordon Kent novels. It has excellent action sequences and a wonderful air of suspense. Read Rules of Engagement and Peacemaker as well. The three books are chronological and I would read them in order. Top Hook is filled with great high-tech action, devious spying, a great international chase, and one of the best concluding battles I have ever read.
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By mark on January 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book very entertaining. it was the first Kent book I've read and plan on reading more of his work.
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