Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berenson

The John Wells books get better every time out, and Alex Berenson has done it again with the latest book, The Counterfeit Agent.  The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been in this installment, with an apparent nuclear threat from Iran and events escalating to a possible all-out war between the United States and Iran. While Wells has never faced a more critical mission, the influence of his allies at the CIA, Shafer and former director, (now Senator) Duto may be at an all-time low.  


The mechanics of how you can manipulate an entire government are both fascinating and frightening.  The subtle ways to push people towards believing what they are already inclined to believe and the momentum that certain courses of events take once they’ve started makes for incredible reading.


John Wells is one of my favorite characters.  He’s smart, tough as nails, and incredibly resourceful.  His weaknesses and self-awareness are what make him stand out from other action heroes.  There is acknowledgement that with age his physical skills decline and there is further awareness that his own nature makes him prone to take action where prudence may serve him better.  Furthermore, there are consequences to his actions that must be overcome.  


Berenson’s attention to the secondary characters, both allies and his adversaries, add realism and excitement to the story.  The plot is intricate, but all too realistic.  The details of intelligence gathering, the resourcefulness and the guesswork, are fascinating.  The Counterfeit Agent races across the world from Istanbul to Guatemala to Hong Kong and Thailand.  The tension and the excitement ratchet up throughout.  


This book builds to an exciting and satisfying conclusion, but it leaves the ultimate resolution to a sequel.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  This may be the most exciting John Wells story yet.  A good book leaves you wanting more.  A great one leaves you needing more.  I need more John Wells.  Highly recommended.


I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.