More than a year after Robert Ludlum went to that great safehouse in the sky, the veteran spy novelist is proving as death-defying as his action heroes. His 1980 bestseller The Bourne Identity is on big screens; now the third installment in his Covert-One series is hitting bookstores. (Ludlum outlined the series before his death, planning to work with collaborators; the books are being completed by others.
This time, secret agent Jon Smith is investigating the theft of a new supercomputer capable of disrupting any electronic system—including those controlling the world's nuclear weapons. Brimming with spy-novel staples—rabid terrorists, fiery shootouts, civilization hanging in the balance—the book occasionally veers from potboiler into parody, but even then it's hard to put it down. (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.95)
Bottom Line: Fast-moving Ludlum Lite