Magazine April 20, 2009, Issue

On Our Side

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia March 3, 2005. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
Banquo’s Ghosts, by Rich Lowry and Keith Korman (Vanguard, 368 pp., $25.95)

William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a successful series of espionage thrillers about Blackford Oakes, a CIA agent. Now National Review editor Rich Lowry (together with his friend Keith Korman) has leaped into the same genre pool, with Banquo’s Ghosts.

One of the hallmarks of the Blackford Oakes series was the author’s quirky and effective practice of mingling real-life characters with his fictional creations. Lowry and Korman do the same thing, with one significant difference: While Buckley’s historical figures often were of gigantic significance in the second half of the 20th century, Lowry and Korman’s are intellectual and philosophical pygmies. It is

Otto PenzlerMr. Penzler is an editor and publisher of mystery fiction, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City.

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