John Wells returns in another exciting and entirely plausible verge-of-war thriller.
The Iranians are apparently about to get the bomb, and the U.S. is ready to go to war to stop them. But is it true? Too late, ex–CIA agent Wells discovers a plot to dupe the two nations into a needless war. Two commercial jets explode, one of them over Mumbai. Almost 300 innocent travelers are killed. The Iranian government disavows responsibility, but perhaps it's sending America a warning: Don’t mess with us. Readers of his earlier adventures know that Wells is a convert to Islam, adding one more layer of complication to a life fraught with danger. His deadly adversaries include an Israeli agent code-named Salome, an accomplished killer who wants the U.S. to believe that Iran has amassed enough highly enriched uranium to build an atomic bomb. If Salome gets her way, Israel’s best ally will destroy its worst enemy. Wells will do everything in his power to stop the plan. So Salome wants Wells dead, but she finds him “harder to kill than a Negev spider.” Despite her uncharitable opinion, Wells is a sympathetic hero who works with CIA agents to defuse a likely disaster. Eventually, “America’s fate”—Iran’s as well, obviously—“depends on three men in Bellville, South Africa. Two can’t stand each other.” Berenson is a master at building tension, with a ticking clock that’s built into the title—America’s attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is only 12 days away. This well-written and fast-moving novel delivers more than a good plot. It illustrates how in the midst of regional chaos, a great power can jump to calamitous conclusions.
This one is well-worth the thriller enthusiast’s time, which holds true for all the novels Berenson has written to date.