In this debut novel, Weber crafts a highly complex political thriller involving conspiracies in the Middle East.
In 2000, about a year and a half prior to 9/11, Billy Gottfried, a Long Island, N.Y., attorney, is contacted to represent a group of veterans who have been accused of stealing classified government documents. After one of the veterans is murdered, the case gets more complicated, and it soon becomes clear that a complex network of interrelated conspiracies is in place—involving power brokers in Washington, arms dealers in the Middle East and crooked U.S. military officials. The veterans that Gottfried represents report that there are secret weapons factories in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he helps to organize a group of 200 veterans, who call themselves the Silent Heroes, to take matters into their own hands. Gottfried fades a bit from the story at this point, as his paralegal, Betty O’Grady, and his friend, Joseph Vecchio, step to the forefront. Vecchio leads the veterans into Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to covertly destroy the weapons factories, while Gottfried and O’Grady do what they can to provide them with legal protection. The problem with this complex novel is that the constant introduction of new characters, and their subsequent investigation into every aspect of the conspiracy, makes it difficult for the author to develop the central characters in meaningful ways. With so many players, readers may at times be unclear on who the central hero is supposed to be; the enemy, meanwhile, becomes faceless and lost in the convoluted plot. Overall, the story comes off feeling more like a disconnected series of interesting events than a cohesive work of fiction.
A thriller with numerous intriguing elements, but one that struggles to truly engage the reader.