Author of Soft Targets and Single Combat, Ing's new thriller gets off to a crackling start, sputters a bit in the middle section but soars to a dramatic, pulsing climax in the high mountains of California. Beginning on an Albanian mountainside in 1944 when a partisan band ambushes a Nazi convoy and finds a cache of gold, which they hide from a rival group of Albanian Communists, the narrative flashes forward to present-day California where teenager Mark Paladino is nearly kidnapped by a carload of strangers. He finds safety in the auto shop of his high school teacher, Stu Ransome, and before long Ransome and young Paladino are involved in a deadly stalking match with Chinese and Russian agents hot on their trail. Somehow, they know, these events are connected to Mark's mysterious father, Justin, whose strange past has linked him to high-level espionage. In spite of some minor distractions, Ing's plot barrels along with action and sharp dialogue that result in a highly entertaining adventure.