Just say it: "The Echelon Vendetta!" I don't even need to know what it's about to get excited by a title like that. It's sort of the ultimate Ludlumesque three word spy title. It's terrific because it means absolutely nothing (outside the context of the story, at least), but sounds awesome and tells any seasoned spy reader/viewer exactly what to expect. Furthermore, the last two words could just as easily be interchanged, which goes a step beyond The Ludlum Formula, which generally requires a proper name up front. You couldn't have a book titled "The Inheritance Scarlatti," but you could just as easily have "The Vendetta Echelon," although it doesn't have quite the same ring. But I digress. Please forgive me; as regular readers of this blog are sure to know, I just love titles like this. I'll be saying it all day. "The Echelon Vendetta." So what is it?
Reader Bish88 gave me the heads up on this story I'd missed in last week's Hollywood Reporter, then filled in some more details. According to the trade, The Wackness director (that's a movie, by the way) "is penning the screenplay for The Echelon Vendetta, an espionage thriller based on David Stone's novel; the project has been set up at Sony." They go on to say the story "centers on a 'cleaner,' a CIA operative in charge of keeping dirty laundry from being aired in public, who after the death of a friend begins to investigate the mysterious deaths of several agents."
Bish supplies this further plot description:
Micha Dalton is not paid to ask questions. He's the man the CIA sends to clean up the mess when something goes wrong-an agent gets in trouble, or worse. But when his colleague and friend Porter Nauman turns up dead in an idyllic Tuscan hill town as a result of an apparent and unimaginably gruesome suicide, Dalton can't help but ask questions. And when Nauman's family is subsequently slaughtered back home in London, Dalton can sit back no longer.Sounds good, and with a title like that, you know I'm there!
Moving from Venice to London to Washington, D.C., to the unbearably beautiful mountains of the American West, Dalton tracks the specter who, with a penchant for intricate knifework influenced by Native American mysticism, is killing a disparate group of agents, former agents, and contract men-all of whom seem to have a connection to ECHELON, a mysterious company operation. The murders appear to be acts of retribution, but for what?
David Stone is a pseudonym for a former military man who has worked in intelligence and law enforcement around the world.