Way back in September 1985, when I was reviewing books for The Boston Herald, I read THE RED FOX, a spy thriller by Anthony Hyde. It blew me away — especially because it was his debut novel. Three decades later, this suspense masterpiece is available as a Kindle ebook.
From my September 15, 1985 Herald review:
“…Canadian author Anthony Hyde has crafted a suspense masterpiece with his very first novel. The Red Fox is a richly evocative, stunningly plotted tale of international mystery and intrigue….
“The novel opens with the tantalizing lines: ‘I was to learn that all the real secrets are buried and that only ghosts speak the truth. So it was fitting: even for me, all this began in a graveyard, among mysteries, memories, and lies.’
“The scene is a rain-shrouded cemetery hidden in the hills of central Pennsylvania. Robert Thorne, a journalist and specialist in Russian history, stands in an autumn drizzle, staring down at the grave marker of his father, a former State Department diplomat. And Thorne wonders for the thousandth time why his father committed suicide in 1956.
“No sooner is Thorne back in his Virginia house when he finds that his mail has been stacked on his coffee table. Moments later, Western Union calls with an urgent telegram from May Brightman, his ex-lover.
“When Thorne flies to Toronto to meet her, May begs him to help her find her father, Harry Brightman, who has unexpectedly vanished. The mystery of Harry Brightman is reminiscent of the mystery of Harry Lime in Graham Greene’s unforgettable ‘The Third Man.’ What begins as a favor to an old girlfriend suddenly drags Thorne down a tangled trail of deceit, double-dealing and death.
“It’s a trail of secret adoptions and phony identities that leads back in time to the terrors of Lenin and the bloody purges of Stalin. It’s a trail blocked by ruthless men pursuing a missing fortune, desperate men hiding shameful secrets, cunning men who pull the strings. It’s a trail that leads Thorne ultimately to the frozen wastes of the Soviet Union, to a shocking confrontation with his own past — and full circuit, back to the lonely hills of central Pennsylvania, to a deadly fox-and-hound chase.
“Hyde’s first-person narrative style is simply mesmerizing; his plot structure, a brilliant feat of the imagination. The mysteries are layered like the skin of an onion, each chapter ending with a shock or revelation that draws the reader inexorably on. The pace never flags and the surprises never stop….
“More than a suspense thriller, ‘The Red Fox’ is a history lesson, a psychological odyssey, a morality play and a model of literary craftsmanship.”
I’m delighted that thirty years after its first publication, this great story is once again available at the special sale price of just 99 cents (through March 21, 2016). If you like spy intrigue, do yourself a big favor and grab it.