Joseph Kanon is a master of the nearly-undetectable “slippery slope.” In his novels, both the protagonist and the reader almost miss the spider web beginning to tighten from practically the first page. He is also a master of what I term the “intelligent thriller”—much of the action takes place in the characters’ minds as they investigate actions and motives.
Defectors begins in 1949 Moscow where editor and CIA operative Simon Weeks has been summoned by his brother Frank to write the tell-all memoir of his defection. The early Cold War has already thrown shadow on the motives and fates of the small community of Western defectors. The author was always one step ahead of me, and I confess I had to read the book twice because I was so intent on finding out WHAT happened on the way to the Finnish border that I missed the many clues and turning points along the way. I enjoyed the second read even more.
Kanon more than holds his own with Alan Furst, Daniel Silva and Charles Cumming, to name only a few superior writers of espionage and Cold War intrigue.
-Sarah Nagle, Collections librarian, Carver County Library