Autumn 1960. Nikita Khrushchev is politically adept, visionary, and locked in a fight with the Politburo and a battle with Mao and the Chinese. His country and his political future are in trouble because he has opened doors to the West and espoused the doctrine of peaceful coexistence. Meanwhile, the arms race is crushing the Soviet economy and there is unrest throughout the Communist empire. Changes are imperative. The army must be reduced, money redirected to a consumer economy, and the US neutralized. But the old boars of the Red Army will not be easily displaced; its leaders are intent on saving their country from Khrushchev. A cabal of senior Red Army patriots are led by a man who the world thinks is Khrushchev's unswerving toady. The game is treason, and the tools are Albania's mad-dog leaders, for whom assassination is second nature. What begins subtly soon turns brittle. A rocket technician disappears before a major accident at the Soviet Space Center. In Belgrade a psychotic CIA agent escapes an ambush, vows revenge, and disappears. Khrushchev turns to the Special Operations Group, the elite hunting team featured in the author's prequel, THE BERKUT. In Washington the Bay of Pigs invasion is in the final planning stages, and its timing is tied to the missing CIA agent. He must be found. Two teams, one from Russia and one from the United States, begin a desperate hunt that leads them on an inward spiral toward each other and to a lethal showdown at the 1961 summit in Vienna. There they find themselves in an uneasy alliance as they race to find the American renegade and the Albanian death team, both groups pawns in a global chess game. With a vast canvas of disparate characters and events, The Domino Conspiracy is a coruscating tour de force. Breathtakingly suspenseful, it lays open the myths of the Soviet monolith and reveals the delicate seeds of glasnost and perestroika, movements that were not to flower until three decades later. Readers know how the Soviet story ended; now they will see how it all began.
Joseph Heywood is the author of The Snowfly, Covered Waters, The Berkut, Taxi Dancer, The Domino Conspiracy, the nine Grady Service Mysteries, Hard Ground: Woods Cop Stories, and the Lute Bapcat Mysteries Red Jacket and Mountains of the Misbegotten. Featuring Grady Service, a contemporary detective in the Upper Peninsula for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, and Lute Bapcat, a Rough Rider turned Michigan game warden in the 1910s, Heywood’s mystery series have earned the author cult status among lovers of the outdoors, law enforcement officials, and mystery devotees. Heywood lives in Portage, Michigan. Visit the author at JosephHeywood.com.