Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Climb aboard for a good read.

"The Venona Cable" is Brent Ghelfi's third novel with Volk as the protagonist.
Volk is a Russian agent and criminal. He's arrested at the Moscow airport and brought to his warehouse where he's shown the murdered body of American cinematographeer, Everett Walker. He's told that Walker had been looking for Volk and had a photo of Volk's father who had disappeared 30 years ago. The police want to know why Volk killed him. After questioning Volk, beating him and leaving him in his cell, he's finally released in order to find out what Walker was up to.
Volk finds a secret hidden in Walker's driver's license. Since Walker was good with film, he used a photographic technique to hide the document. What Volk found was the Venona Cable, a document that told of a meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill where they discussed opening a second front against Germany. The info from the meeting came from a spy, code named "19".
Later, Volk meets former KGB officer Isadora. She tells Volk that she worked with his father in America. She states that Volk's father worked in the aerospace industry for a firm called Loreli Industries.
Volk continues his investigation and he's summoned to Capt. Oleg Basoff who is high in the ranks of Russian intelligence. Basoff tells Volk that Volk's father worked for him and that his father was really an undercover agent.
Volk knows that Basoff wants Volk to find out if his father was really a spy or was he a double agent. Volk's boss, General Novoskaya arranges for Volk to go to America to where his father spent time. Before Volk leaves, a policeman, Rykov tells him that he just learned that someone killed Volk's father in 2004 and thinks Basoff had Volk's father killed.
When Volk arrives in Albuquerque, he meets NCIX agent Elizabeth Rhodes. She's sympathetic and seems to want to help. Elsewhere at Loreli Industries we learn that the man in charge is Alfred Reese. Reese talks to his henchman, Santorini and tells him to take care of Volk.
As the plot progresses, we learn that there are various spies trying to get information and it's hard to know who to trust. We do find out who killed Volk's father and who killed Walker.
Volk is an excellent protagonist. He's street smart, though tender with his girlfriend, Valya. He's emotional about his father and loyal to his country.
The action paced plot is complex but works well. The various agents are well depicted and properly dealt with. The first two Volk novels have been optioned for screen and this story should make a good addition.

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