This extremely well-written novel has an edgy plot built upon the questionable motives of those in power and those who would question the use of that power in a world of terrorist threat and unprecedented civil rights violations. Skillfully building the tensions of the chase, it is difficult to tell the pursuer from the pursued, given complex motives where the good guys look just like the bad.
It all begins with an assassination attempt on the newly-elected President of the United States, Gus Wallberg. Hal Corwin, a friend from Wallberg’s high school days, has threatened the new President’s life. Arguably the best sniper in the military during Vietnam, Corwin is formidable, not to be taken lightly: “He had not only the sniper’s eye, he had the assassin’s mind.”
To counter Corwin’s advantage in the field, the FBI instigates a computer search for their own expert, a virtual doppelganger for Corwin in many respects: Brendan Thorne, the wild card in this cat-and-mouse game. Thorne is minding his own business, a guide for rich tourists in Kenya, his killing years for the CIA left behind, when selected by the administration to track down Corwin before he surfaces for the kill.
True to form, the FBI, in the person of Terrill Hatfield, heavy-handedly maneuvers Thorne into an untenable position, his future return to Kenya at stake. With Corwin in his sights, Thorne’s Ranger training kicks in, in spite of insurmountable odds and the awesome power of the Feds on the hunt. Unfortunately, while doing the FBI’s bidding, Thorne uncovers sensitive information that renders him a target just as he is closing in on his quarry. Now he is as endangered Corwin.
Ambition is a powerful motive, and none of the power-brokers around Wallberg shirk from violence in the name of expediency. Everybody has an agenda in this thriller, from the President-Elect, who wants his potential assassin and their personal history eliminated, to his chief of Staff, who indulges in rough after-hours sex games, and top FBI agent, Terrill Hatfield, head of the Hostage and Rescue/Sniper Team, who is determined to come out on top when the dust settles, no matter who he has to intimidate.
Gores’ prose is relentless, the serpentine plot leading to the heart of the killing field, fueled by one man’s crime and another’s ambition, both feeding upon power and greed. Thorne proves a formidable threat to the status quo, especially when someone he cares about is threatened.
In this brave new world of terrorism and politics, Glass Tiger adds a chilling element to this assassination tango: the power of a rogue agent to threaten the lives of citizens under the banner of National Security. Thorne barely escapes his intended fate, firmly believing that killing “is for younger men whose consciences have not yet made cowards of them all.”