Title: An Honorable Man
Author: Paul Vidich
Vidich, Paul (2016). An Honorable Man. New York: Atria Books
- “This gripping first novel in a spy thriller series, set in Washington D.C. at the height of the Red Scare, investigates a double agent in the CIA whose betrayals threaten to compromise the two lead investigators, the Agency, and the entire nation” — Provided by publisher.
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency–Fiction.
- Spies–United States–Fiction.
- Cold War–Fiction.
- Internal security–United States–Fiction.
- Washington (D.C.)–Fiction.
Date Posted: March 24, 2017
Review by Jefferson Flanders
Paul Vidich has set his first novel in 1953 Washington, D.C., during the early Eisenhower Administration, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy represented a powerful presence in the Capital, and the FBI sought to surface clandestine Soviet agents in the government. The protagonist of An Honorable Man is a burnt-out CIA agent, George Mueller, who has been assigned to a team hunting for a mole, code named Protocol, inside the Agency. CIA officials want to catch the double agent without alerting the witch hunters in Congress. As the investigation begins, Mueller realizes that he may not be above suspicion himself—and finding the penetration agent is the only way to clear his own name.
An Honorable Man is a solid, and entertaining, spy thriller. Mueller and the supporting characters are well-drawn. Vidich handles the action scenes in the novel with aplomb, although at least one—set at a Russian Embassy summer house—seems a bit forced. Nonetheless, An Honorable Man‘s intricate plot turns will keep the reader guessing at the identity of the “traitor within” until the very end.
Some advance reviewers have likened Vidich to John le Carré (the lazy clichéd comparison often used for espionage novelists). In fact, Vidich’s noirish prose style is closer to Olen Steinhauer’s, and for plot twists he borrows more from Raymond Chandler than le Carré.