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Liars & Thieves
By Stephen Coonts

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Liars & Thieves

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Liars & Thieves
Large Print Edition
By Stephen Coonts
Alternative Title: Wages of Sin
Wheeler Publishing, 2004
ISBN: 1-58724-755-0
Genre: Thriller

Reviewed by Herbert White - November 8, 2004

Liars & Thieves is the newest offering from the bestselling writer, Stephen Coonts. Liars & Thieves is an extension of Coonts' famed Jake Grafton series. However, unlike the earlier books in this series, Grafton is not the center of attention, although he does have a significant role in the story. In Liars & Thieves we find that Grafton has retired from the Navy, and the focus of the series has turned to Tommy Carmellini, the ex-thief turned CIA operative who has worked with Grafton in numerous other stories in this series.

In Liars & Thieves, Carmellini goes from one hair raising adventure to another. In his role as a CIA agent, Carmellini is assigned guard duty at an isolated farmstead where a defector is being debriefed. The defector, Mikhail Goncharov, had been an archivist for the KGB, and when he defected to the Americans, he brought a treasure trove of information with him, dating back to Lenin. Information that many diverse groups wanted to ensure never became public knowledge. When Carmellini reaches the assigned farmstead, he finds the occupants in the process of being murdered by a group of camouflaged men. The only survivors of the massacre are Carmellini and a beautiful woman. Unknown to them both, there is also one other survivor.

In true Coonts fashion, Carmellini soon finds that rather than being touted as a hero, he has become the hunted. Both the good guys, and the bad guys, are hot on his trail. The good guys because they think that he was involved in the massacre, and the bad guys want him dead because they think he knows too much. While trying to stay one step ahead of those that want him dead, Carmellini is also determined to find out how the massacre was masterminded, and why.

In the process, Carmellini makes contact with his old friend, Jake Grafton, who pitches in to help Carmellini out of the tangle of lies and deceit that he has become ensnared in. Add to the mix is an old girlfriend of Carmellini, who just happens to be the victim of a blackmailer, and who asks Carmellini to steal back the incriminating evidence that the blackmailer is using. There is also a devious, female politician bent upon winning the presidency, at any cost, and enough action scenes to keep your heart pounding throughout.

Carmellini is a well wrought and engaging character who is well suited to take over the center stage from Grafton. Smart, energetic, and willing to break the rules when necessary, Carmellini is a man who will get the job done, and who will thank you for the privilege of risking his life in so doing. Liars & Thieves is a fast paced, entertaining thriller that will have you guessing, until the very end, just how things will turn out for Carmellini, even though you never doubt the fact that he will, in the end, save the day.

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