The Fourth Horseman, by David Hagberg. Forge. 368 pages. Hardcover $25.99.
Sarasota resident Hagberg’s seventy-plus novels include the popular Kirk McGarvey series, of which this is the latest. It returns to action former CIA director McGarvey in a high stakes assignment that tests all his skills, experience, and resolve. Pakistan is on the edge of chaos, and a quickly emerging leader, self-named Messiah, is on the verge of taking over – but to what end? With four stolen nuclear weapons out of Pakistani government control, it’s likely that more than Pakistan’s future is in jeopardy.
Once McGarvey is tasked by President Charlene Miller with uncovering and stopping Messiah, he finds himself reluctantly teamed with the attractive CIA agent Pete (yes, a girl named Pete) Boylan. Her love for him is obvious and admitted, though McGarvey, still called Mr. Director by old hands, is fearful of an intimate relationship, both professionally and personally. He has already lost too many people he has cared for. McGarvey has enemies: his wife, daughter and son-in-law had been killed by a bomb exploded in a Georgetown restaurant. McGarvey’s mourning and guilt is ongoing, as is his determination to fulfill his duties – an uneasy mix.
Pete won’t stay out of the way. She’s a professional, too, and her skills are needed on this assignment.
It is McGarvey’s conviction that Messiah is none other than a trusted and experienced CIA agent named David Haaris. He has persuaded some other security higher-ups that this is at least likely, but there are others, including an assistant to the president, who are not convinced.
Readers, however, are allowed to get into Haaris’s head – they know more about his motives and plans then any of the characters, including McGarvey.
Haaris, a native of Pakistan who was raised in England, has learned that his cancer is terminal. He is not far away from death. A man who had lived with painful rejection as a child and as a university student, Haaris – in part through his charade as Messiah – is planning his revenge. He has a sophisticated scheme to use the remaining three of the four stolen nuclear missiles (one had been exploded, perhaps inadvertently, by Talaban forces) to bring destruction to New York, Washington DC, and London. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 24. 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the February 25 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Hagberg