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The Right Hand Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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CIA operative Austin Clay—known in the Agency as the Right Hand, because the left hand can’t know what he’s doing—is just the kind of asset every spy organization wants: a smart and effective tracker and killer with his own sense of right and wrong. When he’s assigned to find an American agent missing from his Moscow office, Clay finds that Marika Csontos, a young Hungarian woman who inadvertently learned Russian secrets, is involved. Soon Clay is on a chase across Europe trying to get Marika to safety, find the high-level traitor who’s been selling out the CIA for decades, and prevent an assassination inside the organization. With his skills honed by an abysmal childhood, Clay operates outside the lines, ignoring orders when necessary to get the job done—and get it done he does. Screenwriter Haas, author of the three Silver Bear books and screenplays including 3:10 to Yuma, spins a riveting page-turner with just the kind of sharp dialogue one would expect from someone who writes for the movies. Readers will want to see more of Austin Clay. --Michele Leber
"A one-session rocket of a thriller."―Financial Times, Best Books of the Year
"Derek Haas is a vivid and cinematic writer and THE RIGHT HAND is a roller coaster of a novel."―Jeff Abbott, author of The Last Minute and Adrenaline
"Screenwriter and novelist Derek Haas confidently strides into espionage with his adrenaline rush The Right Hand. A lean, no-nonsense plot....the vigorous pace never slows as Haas' sparse prose propels the plot that crisscrosses Europe. Haas introduces just enough spycraft to add intrigue, but never to overwhelm his story."―Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel
"Cinematic...THE RIGHT HAND never lets up."―Shawna Seed, Dallas Morning News
"Haas has crafted a lean and mean tale laced with wit, mordant insight and, at perfectly judged moments, flashes of sharp prose. He paces his tale with crack action scenes that, however well they read on the page, may soon have film directors calling "Action!" These high-octane scenes, however, never detract from Haas' canny plotting, which is capped by a final, unexpected twist and a poignant fade-out. It's not the game, but how well you play it, and Haas plays it very well indeed."―Kirkus Reviews
"Fast-paced with lots of believable action."―Deadly Pleasures
"Haas spins a riveting page-turner with just the kind of sharp dialogue one would expect from someone who writes for the movies. Readers will want to see more of Austin Clay."―Booklist
"This hard-edged contemporary spy thriller from Haas covers a lot of ground with great narrative economy. Forceful, cinematic scenes show off the lean grace of Hass's prose. Cleverly placed plot twists and spycraft details help make this a standout. Readers will hope to see a lot more of Clay."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Derek Haas knows how to capture your attention with his first sentence and keep you in his thrall until his final words. THE RIGHT HAND is impossible to read in small bites. You devour it like a shark, hungry for more until you've swallowed every gob of flesh, every drop of blood. Haas doesn't know how to write a boring page; THE RIGHT HAND, like a triple shot of espresso, will keep you up all night, eyes darting back and forth, wondering how it's all going to end."―David Benioff, New York Times bestselling author of City of Thieves and The 25th Hour
PRAISE FOR DEREK HAAS:
"A devastatingly cool series."―New York Times Book Review, on THE ASSASSIN TRILOGY
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Clay is sent to Russia to find and recover an American operative, Blake Nelson, who has apparently been exposed and captured by the Russians. His American handlers want him back at any cost. But Clay's mission is obscured when he discovers a Hungarian girl, Marika Csontos, who is on the run after learning more than she should while working as a nanny for a Russian spymaster. Soon Marika is desperately running for her life and she's being chased by Russian authorities, various spy types, and Clay all interested in what she learned from her job as a spymaster's nanny.
Clay eventually catches up with Marika and makes a desperate plan to help her escape from Russia. In the process, he discovers the knowledge Marika has that seems so dangerous to everyone. It appears she has information of a government mole buried deep in the US intelligence service. Now Clay's job is much tougher since he does not know who to trust on either side of his assignment. Clay decides to tell no one until he can get Marika safely to the West, ultimately setting in motion a classic cat and mouse chase that culminates in a white knuckle confrontation in a crowded part of Los Angeles. Eventually, Clay has one more loose end to tie up, the mole in the US intelligence service.
The right-hand was an enjoyable and quick read. It is well-written and tightly plotted. "The Right Hand" doesn't break a lot of new ground and fits comfortably within the typical spy genre of current American literature. But it is worthy in its own right and Austin Clay appears to be a character that will return and will continue to grow on the reader. I will be there for his next appearance.
Derek Haas deftly uses action to propel the story at breakneck speed, but not at the sacrifice of his characters. All of them, from Austin to the most incidental, bit part players, are deeply three-dimensional.
You will not be able to put this book down. Just one caveat: don't forget to breathe!