In The Lion’s Game (2000), terrorist Asad Khalil, also known as the Lion, came to the U.S. to kill the people responsible for bombing his village in Libya. John Corey, the NYPD cop turned antiterrorist agent, and his FBI trainer, Kate Mayfield, gave chase, but their quarry got away. Now it’s a few years later, not too long after 9/11. John and Kate are married, and John’s an experienced agent with his own trainee. Out of the blue sky—literally, in a very creative and exciting scene—Khalil swoops down, bent on continuing his revenge against the people behind the bombing. And now he’s added Corey to his hit list. Can Corey outmaneuver and outwit a determined, ruthless assassin? This is a well-constructed and satisfying sequel, full of exciting (and occasionally gruesome) visual imagery. Corey is a more developed character this time around, and Khalil is every bit as intelligent, cold, and compelling as he was in The Lion’s Game. If the book has a flaw, it’s that it might be a little close in feel, plot, and even dramatic structure to the earlier book. On the other hand, Khalil is a single-minded guy, and it doesn’t stretch credibility at all to imagine that he’d pick up right where he left off.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2010.