Reviews for Skin game

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The CIA calls on its favorite rogue ex-operative, Teddy Fay (The Money Shot, 2018, etc.), to flush out a mole in its Paris office.Agency director Lance Cabot makes no bones about how serious the problem is when he reaches out to Teddy, aka film producer Billy Barnett, aka stunt man Mark Weldon, demanding his help and offering in return no money, precious little logistical support, and not even the pretense that Teddy owes his country something. In fact, the problem's even more serious than Lance knows: Syrian strongman Fahd Kassin can already listen in on Lance's phone calls, and soon enough his operatives have drawn a bead on Teddy's communications as well. Uncertain exactly what Teddy's charge is or how he plans to fulfill it, Kassin dispatches a series of assassins to neutralize the threat, but through a combination of experience, sharp instincts, physical conditioning, and dumb luck, Teddy (spoiler alert) manages to stay a step ahead of them, outwitting some of them and killing the others. Arriving safely in Paris under still another alias, reactivated CIA agent Felix Dressler, he introduces himself to members of the staff, takes the best-looking one to bed, and roots around till he comes across something that makes his antennae bristle: the participation of several world-class scientists in a hush-hush, invitation-only session of the Endangered Species Preservation Conference. Ignoring Lance's directive about how to proceed, Teddy, who "couldn't recall an operation where there had ever been so much at stake," pretends to have left the country, disguises himself yet again as big-game-hunting Texas oilman Floyd Maitland, and talks himself into that secret session, whose rationale is almost worth the price of the book.Once again, Woods-plus-collaborator is Woods-plus. The high body count is utterly weightless, and the identity of the mole will surprise only fifth-graders reading their first volume from the adult section, but the influence of Hall guarantees a plot that's coherent, ingenious, and even somewhat consequential. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.