In Nesoff’s debut thriller, Israeli Mossad agents spearhead an international race to stop an Arab terror network from setting off a small arsenal of contraband nuclear warheads.
The taut military-espionage novel, featuring old school, pulpy violence, blends fact with worst-case-scenario fiction. In this story, set in the early 2000s, it turns out that Saddam Hussein’s infamously ephemeral “weapons of mass destruction” were real—nuclear warheads with engineering from North Korea and concealed with the complicity of Iran. The devices have fallen into the hands of Black Winter, a group of fanatical jihadists that aims to smuggle them to populous detonation sites in the West, murder millions, and ultimately annihilate Israel. Opposing them, principally, are a couple of Israeli operatives who are haunted by their own pasts. American-born Dan Halevi blames himself for misinterpreting clues leading to the 9/11 attacks; Hesh Whitman, meanwhile, saw his bride and other civilians perish in a pitiless Red Sea beach attack, and he wants revenge. There is more than a little bit of wish fulfillment in former Green Beret Nesoff’s novel as the protagonists and their allies, including a strong, decisive U.S. president (unnamed, although Jimmy Carter and both Bushes are called out, most unflatteringly), shun diplomacy and threaten to vaporize anyone who gets in their way. Detailing deadly ordnance without overdosing readers on excessive techno-jargon, Nesoff also tosses in some pointedly right-wing op-ed moments and historical allegations for his target audience: Palestinian National Authority president Yassir Arafat is portrayed as a closeted coward, and former South African president Nelson Mandela as a craven coddler of terrorists; also, in this version of reality, American Muslims did celebrate when the World Trade Center complex fell and “moderate” Jordan is depicted as no better than other radical groups arrayed against Israel. “Dan, that’s one hell of a soap box you’re on,” says one character; as a result, left-leaning readers may want to seek the nearest bomb shelter.
Macho anti-terrorism heroics for those who considered Jack Bauer on TV’s 24 to be a liberal wimp.