Preying on the fears of Americans, militant Islamic factions plot the downfall and overthrow of America from within.
In Bergsgaard’s thriller, U.S. mercenaries kidnap a Taliban informant believed to have information vital to national security. Alex Stone, hired by multinational company Blackstone, delivers the kidnapped man, Ali Shah Masood—a member of the Islamic Council—to CIA agents in Afghanistan. Ali has information about plans the Islamic Council has to unleash the biblical plagues of Egypt (acts of terrorism on the U.S.) to force all U.S. troops to withdraw from the Middle East, then Israel can be destroyed with no U.S. interference. In seemingly unrelated incidents, four border patrolmen in Texas are murdered, red algae overtakes the Potomac River and flies and frogs engulf Arlington National Cemetery while railroad bridges are blown up and forest fires rage. Doc Martini, special agent with the Anti-Terrorism Force, is called on to investigate. With the help of Agent Susan Rivard, Martini finds connections among the events and unravels the secret plans of the Islamic Council before U.S. citizens panic and Israel is destroyed. The author uses his experience and knowledge as a special agent to create a storyline that feels fresh, honest and diabolical. Regulations and procedures stymie federal agents while perpetrators of crime slip through U.S. society seemingly unhindered. Written in a tight, matter-of-fact tone, the story unfolds at a deliberate pace that keeps the reader engaged and in anticipation of the continued action. Events unfold on a day-by-day basis over a period of about two months. Some days have as many as six different entries in a dizzying array of locations including Pakistan, Spain, France, Italy and the White House, with multiple locations listed for Afghanistan and Minnesota. This approach leaves the reader feeling unsettled and confused at times, as well as looking at past chapters to reconnect plot lines. In places, the storyline depends too much on the surface tension of Islamic countries wanting the destruction of Israel, and could stand some bolstering with more in-depth character development of several of the Islamic Council members.
A fast-paced, informed action/adventure story that holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover.