Double Tap
June 8, 2024

Book Review

Double Tap

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Ex-CIA assassin Helen Warwick is back and this time she’s officially out of retirement and on the hunt for the Russian mole known as Scorpius seated deep within the CIA. Firmly embedded in the highest echelons, he has been providing Russia with US secrets for decades and has spies in every division reporting back to him, so the agency needs someone they can trust to flush him out.

At fifty-five, Helen is no spring chicken but she’s worked to keep fit and is still a damn good shot. Always proficient at keeping a low profile, her age has become an extra asset, allowing her to pass as nearly invisible when wearing grandmotherly attire. When her son, Mitch, currently acting DA for Washington DC, opens his campaign to run for the permanent position, Helen has to attend his press conference in the role of his mother, leaving her gun backstage. However, when she spots a laser fixed on him, her reflexes send her into CIA mode and she pushes him off the stage, saving his life. Now she must hunt down Scorpius, the man she thought she had killed, who has set his sights on her family.

Helen agrees to come out of retirement to head a team hunting for Scorpius and the team of specially trained psychopathic killers he has been quietly building up. Although she’s been provided with a team to assist her, she doesn’t know if she can trust any of them not to report on her actions to the very man they are hunting. Yosef, her CIA handler for thirty years is the only one she fully trusts, but she is cautious about putting him and his wife, now gravely ill in the final stages of ALS, in a dangerous position.

This is excellent contemporary spy fiction. Action packed and full of intrigue and suspense, Dees has woven a complex network of lies and deception where no one can be trusted. Often quite dark and violent with first rate spy craft and a high body count, it’s also tinged with humor. Helen’s family have no idea that her career involved more than working as a trade representative for the State Department and put her frequent ‘business trips’ overseas ahead of caring for a family. A running joke is that she is yet to master baking an apple pie for her family. On the other hand, she is a tough, intelligent spy and, as a mother protecting her young in this very personal battle, she’s unbeatable. As she closes in Scorpius becomes more and more dangerous as his desperation to remain undercover sets in.

A definite must read for all those who enjoy thrilling, heart pounding espionage novels. Although this should work well as a stand alone, readers may first wish to Second Shot, the first in the series to get to know the characters and set the scene.

With thanks to Kensington Books via Netgalley for a copy to read.

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