Moscow X by David McCloskey [7/10]

An accomplished spy thriller, with a time-honored plotline, Moscow X makes for a splendid weekend of reading. The second complex, realistic outing by David McCloskey, it kicks off with a propulsive scene in an eastern European jail and then ricochets between Putin’s Moscow, London, and Texas. Three main characters drive the action: the wife of a Moscow bank executive and racehorse owner; a lawyer working for a London firm laundering dirty money; and a racehorse breeder. A battle between two antagonistic henchmen of Putin catalyzes the Moscow woman to intersect with the other two, tasked with running a covert operation deep within Russia. Double crosses lead to triple crosses, the action ratchets up with high tension, and the plot twists, twists, and twists. The author provides great verisimilitude concerning modern espionage and money shenanigans. Very much a plot-driven novel, the three main characters nonetheless acquire solidity and gravitas. The author is a robust stylist. All of these elements combine in Moscow X for a satisfying, classical espionage diversion.

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