This is the fourth of Alex Berenson's thrillers, all featuring his CIA agent John Wells. All of Berenson's books have been intelligent and thoughtful thrillers, very much not following the standard approach but still with pace and thrills.
This one I really enjoyed as once again the author gives a different perspective to intelligence thrillers, here dealing with rendition.
A small US rendition team was based off the books in Poland dealing only with high value prisoners, now back in the US they are being killed off one by one and Wells and his boss Shafer are tasked with identifying the killer in an off the books investigation. The more they investigate the more they find that something went on that nobody wants unearthed.
To say more will give spoilers, but this does sound like many such thrillers but actually it is not. Wells is an interesting character, flawed and restless but no all action hero. Berenson gives us a clear distinction between Islam and those who use Islam as an excuse for terrorism and also provides characterisation and motives for all involved in his story - it's very satisfying to feel a connection to the characters, whether they be jaded CIA types or Pakistani intelligence officers.
For readers of the previous novels there is mention of Exley but no appearance and Well's relationship with Shafer seems more relaxed then I remember, but the lack of Exley is in context with the state of Well's mind...
As the story unpeels (with back-story to explain the Midnight House - the nickname for the rendition centre) you are challenged to decide whether the end justifies the means as the difficult subject of rendition is explored, along with the consequence for both prisoner and interrogators.
Keeps you guessing until a satisfying and enjoyable end.
This story is a fictional account about people, their politics on interrogation and the harsh techniques performed on detainees to obtain information.
CIA agent John Wells was on R&R in New Hampshire when his superior Ellis Shafer calls him back to Langley. An assassin has been killing one by one, members of the defunct team of 10 called 'Task Force 673 '. They were based in Poland at a place code name Midnight House and their mission was to interrogate high-value terrorists with whatever means necessary and extract vital Intel from the most dedicated and most radical. Could the killings be a question of pay back at all cost?
With Wells back in the fold, he poses as an Arabic-speaking journalist in Cairo with the ultimate mission to find and interview Alaa Zumari and back at the home front, Shafer works his contacts he has developed over the years. Soon into the investigation they realize members of the 673 are being not only targeted by the enemy but also back at home by high ranking officials who do not want the truth to become public.
This 4th instalment is a tale of moral corruption, cynicism and political manipulation. I find the storyline has a deeper message than the author's previous novels and has a slight philosophical and political overtone. It also covers an interesting topic: the torture of enemy combatants by Americans on foreign soil. The story jumps back and forth in time; it covers the 673 operations in Poland and the present day investigation. The pacing is slow at times with only a few vivid action sequences to provide a good adrenaline rush, however the writer has cleverly incorporated events of the past years with some plot twists to intrigue and challenge us. The story is driven by a large cast of interesting and well-drawn characters and Mr. Berenson has expertly developed his protagonist into multi-dimensional patriot extraordinaire.
'The Midnight House' is very engaging and a mind stimulating read.