The Double Game
Knopf, Aug 21 2012, $26.95
In 1984 young reporter Bill Cage interviews American espionage agent turned novelist Edwin Lemaster. After a few drinks, Edwin implies he considered working for the Soviet Union. That revelation led to Bill’s journalist career dying before it began. Over the years he became a public relations specialist spinning stories for his clients. Bill married and divorced April, and they have one child David who lives with her.
Over two decades later, an acrimonious Bill accompanies his dad a retired diplomat to the funeral of a CIA agent. Just after the funeral, Bill receives an anonymous letter encouraging him to follow up on the 1984 allegation as he failed to get the rest of the story. Feeling motivated for the first time since his career died, Bill using references from spy novels, heads to Europe where his dad worked and lives, and where Lemaster’s novels are located. In Vienna, he meets a former lover Litzi Strauss, as he investigates the spy who came in from the cold perhaps on the Soviet side.
This is a fun spy thriller that gives the audience a taste of some of the classic espionage tales as Bill turns to them for advice. The story line is fast-paced with much of the fun being Bill’s ineptness as he seems more like Davey Osborne in Cloak and Dagger than Ian Fleming’s James Bond, Joseph Conrad’s Secret Agent, or James Fennimore Cooper’s The Spy. Fans will enjoy this engaging frolic through the literary world of espionage literature with a wonderful biography (to include Lemaster’s novels) as Don Fesperman pays homage to the genre with his enjoyable spy thriller.