Burning the Apostle - Bill Granger “Espionage is just Trivial Pursuit at a different level.”

Excellent post-Cold War spy novel, one of Granger’s “November Man” series.The operatives in Section R are trying to discover how and why money is being laundered through a bank owned by one of the richest men in the world who happens to be friends with an important Senator who, in turn, is illicit friends with Britta Andrews, a leggy blonde with millions.

Devereaux, one of the operatives, had blackmailed Carroll Claymore, who worked for the bank’s owner, Clair Dodsworth, into supplying the section with intelligence information. In the meantime, Britta has enlisted a terrorist to “make a statement.” Her father had been a radical who had blown himself up while constructing a bomb. Her plan is to set the Apostle nuclear power plant on fire in such a way that the resulting radioactive plume would kill thousands of people thereby ruining the reputation of nuclear power and saving the planet. (The Apostle plant is clearly patterned about the Byron nuclear plant seventeen miles from where I live. It’s described as being sixty some miles west of Chicago and south of Rockford, Illinois. As an aside, Britta’s proposals are not so far-fetched after hearing Derrick Jensen speak. Then again, Jensen reminds me so much of radicals in the sixties; same language, just different target.)

But then the Arabs running the ICC and controlling the bank want to know what Britta plans as they would appear to conflict with their own. Britta has her own ideas.

More like LeCarre than Fleming, the spies lie, the bureaucrats equivocate, lines of responsibility are blurred, the people fail in their personal lives, and the little people just try to survive. It’s a funny world we live in where we celebrate security and do our utmost to be safe but hire ex-cons and drug-addicts for minimum wage to do our due diligence; and then we wonder why things go wrong.

Can’t remember how I ran across Granger but he came highly recommended and as his stories take place in the Chicago area, I ordered a few from the library. He has several series in addition to the November Man, another about a Chicago cop. I’m surprised they haven’t been rereleased as ebooks. They should be. Used copies are going for a lot of money.