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The Cutout

The Cutout

In an electrifying thriller debut guaranteed to redefine the genre, Francine Mathews brings her expertise as a former CIA analyst to a work of fiction that reads like the real thing—in a breathtaking tale of a world on the brink of chaos... and the one woman who can stop the deadly countdown to global terror.

They were partners, lovers, soul mates in a business where betrayal is only a heartbeat away. CIA analyst Caroline Carmichael lost her husband Eric when his plane was blown out of the sky by an elite group of terrorists known as 30 April. For two years she's headed an Agency task force tracking Eric's killers. Now, her dead husband has surfaced among those responsible for an explosion that rocks Berlin—and for the daring kidnapping of the U.S. Vice President.

The news sends CIA headquarters into turmoil. Desperate to bury evidence of a maverick agent, uncertain of Eric's motives and loyalties, the Agency plays its last, best card: Eric's wife—the Cutout—sent to Germany as bait to reel him and his VIP hostage in from the cold.

Someone is trying to rewrite history and Eric alone knows who it is, how it is to be done, and when. Caroline's assignment is to learn whether Eric is a rogue agent gone bad—or if he has thrown himself under deep cover to terminate a ruthless psychopath bent on changing the face of Europe. Torn between duty to country and the ghosts of her past, the Cutout swiftly finds herself drawn deep into a dizzying maze where one wrong turn will mean certain death. And in a game where even the life of a Vice President is a pawn, Caroline knows that the Cutout will be the first to fall.

This scorching debut was bought by Warner Bros. prior to publication. Peopled by a remarkable heroine and an authentic cast of characters, sparked with dizzying ambiguities and explosive climaxes, The Cutout is thriller writing at its finest—and it introduces a masterful writer who will take the suspense genre by storm.

 Read an excerpt
 Read Francine's article: Spies, Shaken and Stirred

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"Riveting... Mathew's presentation of espionage and CIA tactics is impeccable."
   —Publishers Weekly

"From its dynamic beginning to its inventive conclusion, sensitivity and suspense are equally at home in this expert blend of introspective novel and high-powered international thriller."
   —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Francine writes with precision and authority. The Cutout is a top rate spy thriller. I loved it."
   —Ridley Pearson

"Francine Mathews's The Cutout is not just a fresh new voice in international intrigue, it's a brand-new vision—intelligent, passionate, and unceasingly entertaining."
   —Stephen White

Bantam, hardcover, January 2001, ISBN: 9780553108934
Bantam, mass market paperback, October 2001, ISBN: 9780553581508