Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

The lines are drawn quickly – boom boom boom. Here is Israel, here is Russia, here is history. Here is crime, here is terror. Here stands Gabriel Allon: here, on the side of art. And Ivan stands here on the side of death. Like a Tarot layout.

There is a bird’s eye view of wealth, apres ski, and the new moneyed KGB, false passports, false names, false paintings, false millionaires.

There are the usual types: A fierce, crude, merciless, amoral Russian millionaire with 3 lovers, 2 children, a wife and a fleet of bodyguards. The hoary old spymasters, the believers, the Zionists. The mercenaries, the Americans, the businessmen.

Racy beginning but then the book is put on automatic drive.

The Defector by Daniel Silva read by Phil Gigante

Forget the tax on sugar. Tax bad dialogue, dreadful characterizations, idiotic psychological profiles. To wit:

When he was a child the twitch had made him the target of merciless teasing and bullying. It had made him burn with hatred. And that hatred had driven him to succeed. Victor Orlov wanted to beat everyone and it was all because of the twitch in his left eye.

Read it as farce.