We first met Nick Dement, a retired KGB agent, as he unmasked a mole in the CIA. He is put in the witness protection program for his own safety, and as the years turn into his first decade in the program, he realizes he has been all but forgotten. He still receives his stipend but it did not grow with inflation, and he finds himself working part time for extra money. His recent gig was as an employment counselor with JBI transition consulting, and it is in this capacity that he first meets another Russian, Lenny Doburoff.
Nick is not interested or even comfortable dealing with Lenny, yet he does not feel comfortable turning him down for dinner because his job is to help him transition. Lenny’s wife, Jessica is extremely attractive and he finds himself quite taken with her. She is smart and pretty, not at all what he expected from Lenny. As he relaxes and learns more about Lenny, he finds out that Lenny has a grown son Peter. Lenny believes that Peter may be in trouble, and asks Nick for his help. Since Nick only works his job part time, he decides to drop in on Peter and find out if Lenny has anything to worry about.
Peter is intelligent, very good with computers and when Nick stops and introduces himself, Peter is very suspicious of his motives. Nick notices that Peter is a music aficionado and compliments him on a piece that he hears in the apartment. The song is called “Jessica’s Tune,” after his stepmother. Getting under Peter’s guard, while not easy, puts Nick in a position to see what he is working on with is computer.
As Nick begins to follow up, he feels the familiar thrill, a part of his earlier life he did not realize he was missing. As he digs deeper he finds that Peter has attracted the wrong kind of attention, that of the Mexican Cartel. As Nick works to extract Peter from his problems, they are drawn deeper into the shady and deadly pull of the Cartel. Can he rely on his rusty instincts to save Peter, or will they both perish?
In this second installment and sequel to Jim Wygant’s novel, The Spy’s Demise, we continue the saga of Nick Dement. In Jessica’s Tune, Wygant creates another scenario, where the hero from his first work has another opportunity to shine. Nick has grown and developed; he is still a bit of a loner and continues to have trust issues. Married for a short time, he moves on when it does not work out, and finds a comfortable life.
When he researches the company Peter has hacked, he meets Kate Shawn, an employee for the company that he is investigating. When Peter is kidnapped, they begin a madcap search and rescue with both Jessica and Kate, humorous at times, but with the ability to become deadly.
The characters are exceptional and easy to like, Nick is smart with a big heart, but also very private. This vulnerability makes him very attractive to the opposite sex. Unaware of his charm, he bullies his way into Peter’s life and sends them all on an interesting adventure that changes all their lives.
The book is fast paced with a great story line, and while there are only a few vague references to Jessica’s tune, the story itself is about anything but music. It is charming and a bit old worldly in the interplay with Lenny and Nick, but drawn into the here and now with the technology and shrewdness shown by Peter. With Jessica at the wheel, you will find yourself spinning into an exciting adventure, one that keeps you guessing. This is a lighter pace than the first book of the sequel, but it is sure to please.