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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerized by Salome's dance, 20 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The Counterfeit Agent (John Wells 8) (Hardcover)
"Twelve days. That's what we have." ‒ Vinny Duto, at the conclusion of THE COUNTERFEIT AGENT

THE COUNTERFEIT AGENT by Alex Berenson is perhaps the very best of the John Wells series to date. And what makes me giddy with anticipation is that this installment is apparently the first of at least two in which Wells, the CIA's deadliest field agent, is pitted against what may yet be his most wily adversary, who vows to kill John or die trying.

Not to put too fine a point on it, THE COUNTERFEIT AGENT is the best spy novel I've read in many months.

Here, Vinny Duto is no longer the Director of Central Intelligence but a U.S. Senator. Ellis Shafer, John's long-time controller, fears his days are numbered under the CIA's new chief. And Wells has been given an ultimatum by his significant other: "Me or the job; you have thirty days to decide." In the meantime, a too-good-to-be-true source calling himself Reza and claiming to be from within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has surfaced in Istanbul and is giving the Agency's resident spy runner a heads-up about upcoming nefarious plots that would likely lead the U.S. down the road to a shooting war with Iran. That is, if Iran is really the provocateur.

And who's Salome, anyway?

John owes Vinny a favor, a debt incurred at the conclusion of The Night Ranger (A John Wells Novel), the immediately previous book in the series. So, the Senator and Ellis send Wells off on an unauthorized mission that soon brings him and Shafer into conflict with the new DCI's assessment of the Iranian's information. As Ellis finds out, it's not prudent late in one's career to tell The Boss what he doesn't want to hear.

The author is brilliant at incorporating a credible and startlingly ingenious conspiracy into the story line and then pitting his hero against it, and THEN saving the second half of the story for (what should be) an enormously successful sequel. I suspect the publisher is camped out on Berenson's doorstep waiting for the manuscript. In any case, I don't care what the price or title of the sequel will be; I'm in.

The American consulate in Istanbul employs two engaging CIA officers, Brian Taylor, the one "running" Reza, and Martha Hunt ‒ "shockingly good-looking, tall and slim, with killer blue eyes" ‒ the chief-of-station. In a barely touched-upon subplot, Brian regards his boss with something akin to puppy love and is desperate to be in her league. I hope a sequel continues this light-hearted thread.

Wells has now completely eclipsed Jack Reacher and "Spider" Shepherd as my new favorite action hero.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Apr 2014 09:49:32 BDT
A. F. Taylor says:
I enjoyed this book. However, I don't regard it as any great compliment that it eclipses Jack Reacher. I have read only one book by Childs and it was the worst thriller I have ever read.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 17:12:53 BDT
Mr. Joe says:
A.F.,

The Reacher books span the spectrum from very good to just short of awful. Perhaps you got one of the latter.
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Mr. Joe
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