If Watchmen was an important book that didn’t quite entertain, The Defector is a wholly unimportant book that’s fairly entertaining.
Part of a series starring an Israeli secret agent / art restorer, The Defector concerns a Russian defector (the titular character) the agent smuggled out of Russia and used to undermine a major Russian mafia figure. The defector has disappeared from the streets of London and the Israeli is summoned from the Italian villa where’s he’s restoring a painting for the Pope.
The Defector is the perfect airplane novel (less suited for the episodic nature of subway reading) – moving quickly and with some superficial emotional involvement (I hate the woman/child-in-peril trope and this book includes pregnant-woman-in-peril). The novel also feels reasonably “realistic” – not that I know anything about the CIA, MI6 or Mossad – but spends a decent amount of time on the “how” of creating covers and safe houses, which I found interesting.
So, not great literature, but fun. Next up – The Women by T.C. Boyle.