A captivating spy tale told with chutzpah

Roni Dunevich’s inaugural English-language novel has intrigue to spare. Image courtesy HarperCollins
Roni Dunevich’s inaugural English-language novel has intrigue to spare. Image courtesy HarperCollins

BY SHAVNA ABRUZZO | “When a Mossad mission goes horribly wrong, only one agent can save the day!”

That tantalizing screamer is a teaser of the red meat each page hurls into readers’ voracious jaws in Roni Dunevich’s gritty spy shocker, “Ring of Lies.”

The high-speed, contemporary potboiler of violence, cold-hard calculation, and industrial-strength chutzpah is the internationally best-selling Israeli crime writer’s stateside debut of his suspenseful Alex Bartal series, which was serialized in Israel’s biggest newspaper.

And it’s a nail-biter from the get-go.

Bartal is director of operations at Israeli intelligence agency Mossad — a job requiring the hardscrabble sleuth to sleep with one eye open on good days; but the week that the book follows brings him to the brink of disaster when one of his agents is kidnapped during a top-secret assignment to capture, work over, and kill an Iranian general. The toppled plot triggers the deaths — one member at a time — of a sleeper-cell network of Mossad spies, propelling a series of intensifying calamities that drip, drip, drip a trail of blood, treachery, and infamy across two continents.

Convinced of a mole within Mossad, Bartal hot-foots to Europe and Asia to hunt and destroy the turncoat, his adrenaline-packed, action-mobbed investigation ascending to the highest levels of international espionage and government — and sinking into the deepest recesses of a tortured past. Along the way, readers make the acquaintance of enigmatic sleepers from the Ring of the Nibelungs — named for Richard Wagner’s German-language epic music dramas based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas — and a cast of unsavory actors, including “The Disfigured One,” “The Pockmarked One,” and “The Bald One Without Eyebrows.”

Bartal’s relentless pursuit unleashes personal demons that clash with Europe’s murky and troubled history, and make him wonder if he is hunting an apparition or a merciless murderer who will stop at nothing to achieve his deadly purpose.

The Mossad agency is the breakout star of “Ring,” riveting readers to the inscrutable operatives and clandestine operations of the Israeli spy intelligence agency which brought real-life Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann to justice.

Dunevich’s inaugural English-language novel in his award-winning Alex Bartal series is liquid prose, tumbling drop by drop like a rich brandy — this reviewer gulped it down, cover to cover, in a weekend!

Its nail-biting journey through the lairs and labyrinths of intercontinental undercover work is already out in paperback, and captivating whodunnit fans across America.

“Ring of Lies” (HarperCollins, 480 pages, 2016, $15.99). Roni Dunevich was born in 1961 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He began his literary career as a copywriter and a strategic consultant.