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by Henry Porter
Mysterious Press, September 2019
438 pages
ISBN: 0802147534

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Henry Porter is the author of seven British espionage novels, but his new series with former MI6 agent Paul Samson deals with up-to-the-minute world-shaking political issues. The first in the series, FIREFLY, dealt with the refugee crisis as Syrians fled ISIS. WHITE HOT SILENCE takes on interference in Western democracies.

WHITE HOT SILENCE opens with the kidnapping of psychologist Anastasia Cristakos, a Greek aid worker, in Italy. Anastasia is married to Denis Hisami, a billionaire funder of worldwide refugee centers. Hisami, whose nickname is White Hot Silence worked with the Kurdish Peshmerga in the past, but now he is an American who lives in California.

Hisami has just been fingered by ICE for his past and is unable to go after his wife. He wisely hires Samson with whom he worked in FIREFLY. The romantic intrigue is supplied by the fact that Samson and Anastasia are former lovers and Paul still carries a torch for her.

WHITE HOT SILENCE is a procedural for Samson, but for Hisami it is about an international effort to destabilize the West. For Anastasia it is about escaping her kidnappers and getting back to safety. We see the story from all these perspectives.

Samson manages to find out who the leaders are in the kidnapping of Anastasia, following a link from the Mafia to one of Hisami's fellow investors, Adam Crane, who has disappeared from Southern California, reappeared as a dead man in London, only to reappear in Tallinn, Estonia where much of the later action takes place.

Samson must kidnap Crane to save Anastasia, but he has the help of two characters from Porter's earlier novels, Robert Harland, a retired spy (now a citizen of Estonia) from A SPY'S LIFE and teenager Naji Touma, the Syrian firefly from FIREFLY with the super-brilliant computer skills.

Meanwhile back in the woods where Anastasia has escaped her kidnappers, she is recaptured by Kirill, a nasty piece of work who forces her to discuss literature while trying to seduce her but makes it perfectly clear that she is going to die by his hand, soon. She deploys all her psychological tricks but sees that she must resign herself to her impending death.

WHITE HOT SILENCE is a brilliant spy thriller. Porter presents us with a real world situation where happy endings seldom happen. Refugees from many parts of the world figure in the novel, with new names and back-stories. This is not the world that any of us grew up in and this is no escape novel. It is an anxiety-producing picture of the key problems of the Western world, right now and right here, where elections are tampered with and villains run three of the strongest countries in the world. You don't want to miss the futurist ending of WHITE HOT SILENCE.

Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, September 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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