Tag Archives: amazon

Book Review: The Prisoner

“better safe than headless”

I’m on Alex Berenson’s email list, and when he sent a message to his readers that John Wells was “back undercover in the Muslim world” I immediately went to Amazon and pre-ordered.

I was excited, but also a little worried.

Wells is a great character. Berenson is an incredibly gifted writer. But of late, a number of usually reliable thriller authors have used the Jack Bauer “24” method of going undercover with disastrous consequences (e.g. I have serious reservations about buying any future Scot Harvath books). I felt Berenson was right on target with his idea – I can’t imagine any fan of John Wells not wanting to read about him going undercover in Afghanistan for a second time – but I feared the worst, that Wells would morph into a bad superhero caricature and Berenson would have ruined a great series.

Now that I’ve read the book, I apologize to Mr. Berenson – sorry I doubted you. This is the best post-9/11 thriller I’ve ever read. In fact, it might be the best thriller I’ve ever read, period.

It begins with a CIA mission in ISIS territory. Hence, this great line from one of the operators: “better safe than headless.” After the mission, it’s clear that someone is giving sensitive intelligence to ISIS. Shafer and Wells – with support from President Duto – launch a bold plan to uncover the mole, and what unfolds is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Berenson takes readers on a vivid, surreal journey with pacing and prose that are masterfully executed and a plot that is all too real and terrifying. Berenson has clearly been to Afghanistan and the other dangerous / exotic locales used in the book – for no one could carry a reader down this path so well unless he first traveled it himself.

The book builds to a frenetic pace, and then Berenson cranks it up even more as it turns into a race against the clock to stop ISIS from carrying out an attack that rivals 9/11.

If you enjoy thrillers, read this book. If you really enjoy thrillers that also fall into the “literary” category, then you absolutely need to be reading Alex Berenson. I used to say no one writes that category better than Daniel Silva, but I think Berenson is at the top now.

Read this book – I highly recommend it, 5/5 stars.

Use this affiliate link to read more about The Prisoner on Amazon.

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Book Review: The Forgotten Soldier

For the first half of the book I thought Brad Taylor had finally lost his momentum with this series. The plot is basically a rehash of a theme that rears its head in nearly every Taskforce book—that an extralegal organization, no matter how well intended, will ultimately betray its mandate by exceeding / abusing its authority.

In this instance, a member of the Taskforce goes rogue after his brother is killed in Afghanistan. The first half of the book is a lot of debate, and it did nothing to develop the plot. If anything, the actions of Pike and his team in past books is inconsistent with the outrage regarding the rogue Taskforce member in this book—but even ignoring that, the first half of the book felt like a disaster for the series.

And then out of nowhere there is a scene with Jennifer that blew me away. It’s a little past the midway point, and the rest of the book is non-stop, frenetic, adrenaline fueled Brad Taylor at his absolute best. The plot takes a turn, and the debate and slow build-up in the first half of the book turn out to be incredibly relevant—and by the time you turn the last page it’s one of the most satisfying thrillers you’re likely to read this year.

I love this series, love this book, and can’t wait for the next one: 5/5 stars.

I received a free digital edition from Penguin Random House First to Read in exchange for a honest/unbiased review. Use this affiliate link to read more about The Forgotten Soldier on Amazon.