Kanon, Joseph. Defectors. New York: Atria Books, 2017. 384p. ISBN 978-1-5011-2139-5. $27. Fiction

Boston publisher Simon Weeks has come to Moscow in the spring of 1961 to edit his brother Frank's memoirs. Twelve years earlier, Frank, a CIA agent facing exposure as a Communist spy, defected to the Soviet Union. His memoirs, however, are not a mea culpa but what the KGB calls an "active measure"--a book that will cast them in a positive light. Frank, in fact, is an officer in the KGB and has long been considered a hero for his service training Russian spies in the ways of the West. To Simon's surprise, Frank claims he wants to return to the United States, saying his wife, Joanna, who had a fling with Simon before she fell for Frank, can no longer take their diminished life in Moscow. Under the watchful eye of his KGB handler and surrounded by other defectors, Simon gets drawn into his brother's intrigues. Does Frank really plan on taking Joanna with him in a daring escape, or does he have other schemes in mind? Kanons eighth novel (after Leaving Berlin) is a finely paced Cold War thriller with his usual flair for atmospheric detail, intriguing characters, and suspenseful action. VERDICT Fans of intelligent suspense (think John Le Carré, Robert Littell, Charles McCarry, or Alan Furst) will enjoy trying to figure out whom is deceiving whom.

Library Journal, 142, no. 7 (April 15, 2017), 76.


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