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by Alex Berenson

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-15620-5
Publisher: Putnam

Superspy and serial country-saver John Wells (The Silent Man, 2009, etc.) seeks to uncover the truth about a string of murdered operatives from a top-secret unit.

Last seen stopping an Islamist plot to detonate a nuclear device in Washington, D.C., CIA agent Wells is called back to duty from a rest period in New Hampshire by his grouchy but loveable Agency handler Ellis Shafer. It seems CIA head Vincent Duto, with whom Wells has repeatedly butted heads, wants them to look into a string of suspicious deaths. The victims are all veterans of Task Force 673, which operated out of a covert detention facility in Poland. The two start poking around, Wells in Egypt disguised as a Kuwaiti activist, Shafer on the domestic front. Eventually, they begin to suspect that not only might a string of former captives want the members of 673 dead, but so too might some in the U.S. intelligence establishment who have reason to fear the consequences if the truth about what 673 was up to comes to light. The stakes are much lower than Berenson’s usual here—no plot to detonate a major U.S. city—but the novel as a whole and Wells’ character in particular benefit from the additional breathing room. Any fictional CIA agent would do whatever it takes to prevent a known terrorist attack, but here we see how far Wells is willing to go to discover the truth for its own sake. After all, a man can only save the country from destruction so many times before he begins to look like a character in a comic book.

A superbly crafted spy thriller that doubles as a gripping mystery; the reader has no idea who the killer is until Wells figures it out.