This espionage novel was my first encounter with Vidich, who has beforehand written 5 extra. In Beirut Station, given the present political scenario between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with Hezbollah watching in neighbouring Lebanon, the timing of the publication of this thriller set in Beirut again in 2006 when the Hezbollah and Israel had been at warfare, could also be seen as both well timed or provocative – though in fact it was written and deliberate effectively earlier than the current battle broke out.
I’ll confess too that I discover the politics, non secular divisions and conflicts of the area very difficult, thus I apologise sincerely for studying this completed political thriller on maybe a lower than political degree.
Subtitled ‘Two Lives of a Spy’ Vidich’s protagonist is Analise, a younger Lebanese-American CIA agent, and he or she makes a refreshing change. Because the novel begins, she has been in mattress with Corbin, an American journalist. A bomb goes off close by…
Analise counted the seconds till the sound of the concussive blast arrived. ‘It’s the airport or Hezbollah headquarters in Bourj al-Barajneh.’
Corbin telephones in and has to rush off to file a narrative, leaving Analise watching on the balcony.
She gazed at grey smoke pluming into the starless night time. The air was heat however she felt chilly. It was all the time that method the night time earlier than an operation, significantly one during which a person’s life can be taken. She was glad to be on the finish of her tour and glad to be shifting on. There was a plan in place, and what mattered was that the plan stored her from considering an excessive amount of about her function. She merely needed to preserve cowl and do her half. Most intelligence officers wanted to be skilled to compartmentalise their lives, however Analise’s instincts sprung from her chrysalis absolutely shaped. She by no means hesitated to shut down a priority, and he or she might give a dozen explanations for what she was doing or the place or why, every extra convincing than the reality.
So by the top of the primary chapter we’ve already begun to get the measure of Analise, and we all know one thing’s taking place tomorrow. A tantalising opening.
Within the second chapter we’ll uncover what the operation is: a joint CIA and Mossad plan to get rid of a senior Hezbollah officer. Analise is likely one of the spotters on the bottom, nevertheless, this time they should abort when Qassem’s grandchildren are with him. It’s disappointing for the workforce because the strain is on to eliminate Qassem earlier than a diplomatic summit in a few weeks, which Condoleezza Rice will attend. Will they get one other alternative? Analise’s cowl is working for a UN schooling company, and he or she ‘volunteers’ within the faculty attended by Qassem’s son. The previous chief of police retains asking her for info on one of many worldwide journalists, whom he suspects is a Mossad agent. She has to play a really harmful recreation, to be resourceful and adaptable, and ere lengthy realises that she will be able to’t belief any of them, and that her cowl is more likely to be blown.
Is there anybody she will be able to belief? Even Corbin suspects she is greater than she seems. In Analise, Vidich has created an outstanding multilayered character who is robust and female and capable of play her roles, together with enjoying down her information and intelligence, amongst all the assorted males. Vidich has clearly achieved his analysis effectively to convey this era in Beirut’s turbulent historical past to life. There’s additionally a pleasant nod within the e book to the story of one other traitorous spy who lived in Beirut some a long time earlier than, i.e. Kim Philby.
As thrillers go, Beirut Station has actual complexity in its character-led plot, suspense and extra suspense. Jeopardy, betrayal and questions of loyalty and belief run via it from begin to end, making it a compelling learn, which I loved.
Supply: Overview copy – thanks. No Exit Press hardback, 304 pages. BUY at Blackwell’s by way of my affiliate hyperlink.