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Book Review: 'Spencerville'

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Here’s an intriguing replacement for the traditional Cold War espionage tale: essentially The Bridges of Madison County for guys, complete with passionate, undying love, infrared scopes, Glock 9 mm pistols, and terrifying late-night border crossings. It seems that Spencerville, Ohio’s Keith Landry has been mustered out of an unidentified U.S. government agency after 25 years. Maybe a little burned out, but ”in his mind, he still thought of himself as a farm boy, despite college, travel, custom-made suits, proficiency in foreign languages, and proficiency with exotic weapons and exotic women.” Back home waits his high school sweetheart, Annie, still yearning after all these years. Alas, there’s a husband, Spencerville’s corrupt police chief, Cliff Baxter, a cunning and jealous sexual sadist. To liberate the damsel will require every ounce of Landry’s skill and courage. Sounds too silly to work, but readers who are willing to overlook DeMille’s occasionally florid style will find a crisply plotted narrative. So what if the perilous border crossing at midnight is between Ohio and Michigan? A thriller is a thriller. B