Spy Hard

Though we hate to generalize, we must in the case of those bodice-ripping potboilers called suspense novels. Generally speaking, they suck.

Ours is not a time of giants like Greene, Hammett, Cain, and du Maurier. It’s an age of runts like Ludlum, Koontz, Follett, and Perry. Blah.

As a writer, Dame Stella Rimington is neither leviathan nor dwarf, but she brings a sense of authenticity to her Liz Carlyle books, because kick-ass-and-take-names Carlyle is a Special Agent for the British spy hive MI5 and Rimington was real-life Director-General of the agency from 1992 to ’96. More, Rimington was the spook factory’s first female DG.

Retirement didn’t sit well with the grand Dame. After publishing her controversial autobio, Open Secret, in 2001, she introduced the sassy Carlyle – who many contend is fairly autobio, as well – in the 2004 book At Risk.

Rimington signs the third in the series, Illegal Action, at the Poisoned Pen.

Fri., July 18, 7 p.m., 2008
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Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear