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Beautiful Assassin

 By Michael White. 480 pp. Harper Perennial, 2011. $15.99.

 Snipers are inherently romantic figures. They reduce war to its elemental essentials: fighter, weapon, cunning, target. Make the sniper a gorgeous, deadly, and self-possessed Russian woman who notches more than 300 German confirmed kills during the fierce battle for Sevastopol, becomes an outsized Soviet hero, is invited to tour the United States with Eleanor Roosevelt, and then, at the height of her international acclaim, disappears, and you’ve got the spicy ingredients for a terrific war-based mystery. Author Michael White, whose earlier novels Soul Catcher and A Brother’s Blood earned widespread kudos, knows his craft, has absorbed the history and technical data, and delivers on this novel’s promise, spiking it with juicy twists that make it a page-turner.


Originally published in the August 2011 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.