Steven Konkoly’s Deep Sleep opens with Hezbollah successfully firing missiles at Haifa (Prologue), pivots to a woman kidnapping an elderly man from a retirement home near Branson, Missouri (Chapter 1), then pivots again to a security team forcefully extracting a client from a honey trap in a Washington DC hotel (Chapter 2).
As is true of every good espionage novel, these actions are related, and they center around a protagonist: Devin Gray, formerly of the FBI’s Special Surveillance Group, now an employee of Minerva, a high-end security firm. He is the operator who led the honey trap victim to safety. His mother—Helen Gray—is the kidnapper and a disgraced CIA agent. And the Haifa bombing is the result of a conspiracy she alleged but couldn’t prove, which seemed to have her broken her sanity.
But when she dies under circumstances and leaves Devin cryptic encoded messages, he starts to wonder whether his mom was just crazy—or crazy like a fox. The More he looks he into things, the more he sees things the way his mother had. Before he can take this information to his former colleagues at the FBI, however, he needs harder proof. With the help of one of his mom’s former colleagues, he assembles a team of private contractors with mysterious funding, and they turn conspiracy theory into conspiracy fact.
And at the center of that conspiracy is …
You’ll have to read the book to find out. Let me just say that it involves a certain neighbor of Ukraine’s who wants nothing more than to destabilize the US-led world order.
I judge books like this by whether it kept me turning pages and whether it strained my willing suspension of disbelief. Deep Sleep did and didn’t, respectively. I enjoyed reading the book. Let me warn you, though, it ends on a cliffhanger, so you’ll have to wait till October 25, 2022’s publication of Coming Dawn for the end of the story.
Steven Konkoly, Deep Sleep (Seattle, WA: Thomas & Mercer, 2021).
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