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The Counterfeit Agent (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 11, 2014
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“The Counterfeit Agent is as topical as any of Berenson’s books and, with its sharp details and knowingness, gives you the distinct impression that the author has talked to more than enough people to know of what he speaks... The plot is every bit the thrill ride it sounds like, [and then] there is Wells. He is, necessarily, a dashing, hard-to-defeat fellow. But he is deeply human, frustrated as often by love and his own personal demons as by the villains around him. He is a morally complex protagonist, an entertaining guy to hang out with. He alone makes The Counterfeit Agent worth the read.”—Associated Press
“Whatever real-world geopolitical threat you're following, chances are the fictional John Wells has already handled it in his ripped-from-the-headlines adventures.”—NPR books
“With each [book] Alex Berenson’s idiosyncratic invention, John Wells, a US secret-ops agent and convert to Islam, finds himself getting older and fighting harder for higher stakes in a novel that earns your attention and delivers an intriguing catch at the end . . . [Berenson’s] clean, clear prose and solid grasp of global geopolitics make for compelling, believable scenes and chapters.”—The Boston Globe
“From the opening gambit in Istanbul to the fetid streets of Thailand and the Philippines, Guatemala and Panama, the pace never lets up. Moreover, the characters we’ve come to expect in Berenson’s stories — Ellis Shafer, Wells’ wisecracking old boss, and Vinny Duto, the opportunistic ex-CIA director turned U.S. senator — are on hand and in especially fine form. The author excels at limning the shadowy world of international espionage, and his feel for the locales in which Wells operates is top-notch. This is an intelligent thriller of the first order, an exciting, satisfying and rewarding read.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A geo-political thriller that is action packed, mimics the real world, and is full of surprises.”—Crimespree Magazine
“[A] volcanic shocker . . . Working with plot elements that are terrifyingly realistic, research that rings as true as today’s headlines, and characters that brim with integrity and swagger, Berenson puts John Wells right up there with the best of espionage fiction’s greatest heroes.”—Library Journal
“Berenson ratchets the tension ever higher, combining plenty of vividly detailed bloodletting with a fascinating look at geopolitics and the self-serving quagmire of governmental bureaucracy. Wells stands outside all that, a Rambo with a brain who can’t resist the call to action. The clock is ticking loudly this time, though, and fans will have to wait until the next book to see if Wells saves the world one more time.”—Booklist
“Berenson sets this series apart by doing his homework. The locations are meticulously researched and exceptionally well-realized. Berenson also clearly knows his spycraft, and his knowledge of the inner workings at Langley adds an additional layer of detail . . . Another well-crafted entry in Berenson's excellent John Wells series.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Action-packed . . . Thriller fans will eagerly await the return of the estimable Wells.”—Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Night Ranger
“[A] taut thriller offers plenty of twists and turns, told in the bestselling author's fast-paced style.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"A tense thriller that relies equally on bravery, wit, and 21st-century American firepower . . . Berenson gives readers top-notch, fast-paced excitement in a part of the world unfamiliar to many Americans. John Wells is a worthy hero readers can count on."—Kirkus Reviews
"The chaos of East Africa and the complex realities of relief efforts in that region form the backdrop for Edgar-winner Berenson's gripping seventh thriller . . . Taut prose, plausible action, and plenty of plot surprises ensure another winner for this perennial bestseller."—Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps the best thing about The Counterfeit Agent is that I had no earthly idea how this thing was ending until I got to the final ten pages. In addition the fact that it doesn't tie up into a neat bow makes it feel more like the real world.
In every way this is a brilliant, must read novel. Hurry and grab it. I can't wait until Mr. Wells undertakes his next mission
I welcomed Berenson as a talented new voice in the genre, and thoroughly enjoyed each of his books, right up until last year's release, "The Night Ranger", which I considered a major misstep (you can read my entire review of that book there).
With this new entry, Berenson returns protagonist John Wells back to what he does best - international espionage dealing with events of major cataclysmic potential - but somehow, some of the mojo seems to be gone.
The plot centers on a shadowy operative who goes by the nom du guerre of Salome. At the behest of her mysterious masters she's acquired a chunk of weapons-grade enriched uranium, and recruited a cadre of minions to put her plan into action, that plan being to sow international discord and panicked response to the threat of nuclear blackmail supposedly being enacted by Iran.
Wells, now in retirement and living with his girlfriend, is recruited into action by his old boss and friend Ellis Schaeffer to delve into the threat, try to verify or debunk it, and then deal with the people behind it. Wells follows the clues to where they lead him around the world as the body count ratchets up.
All well and good as far as it goes, but the tension just never seems to ratchet up to match the scale of the threat. A matter of pacing, and lack of focus, in my opinion.
There's the leisurely "now you see it, now you don't" issue of Wells's disintegrating relationship with his girlfriend. It pops up at the oddest moments for a paragraph or two, then vanishes again.Read more ›
This latest book is different than the others in that the story is a little slow to get going, but when you reach the end, you understand why. The author leaves you at a point that you must read the next book, there is so much more story to go. At first in reading the book, I was wondering why there seemed so much background rather than action, then I understood. The author was not done with me!
I would suggest reading this series from the beginning, you get to know the main character so well, and really get to like him and appreciate what he has sacrificed for the country. However, if you are new to the series, and want to start with this book, it is still a really good read, just not as much appreciation for where the character has been and may be going.
I highly recommend this book and this series, I am so glad I found him. I came late to the series, and was able to read the books one after another, what a treat that was! Read this author, John Wells is a favorite, well developed character, and I would hate for you to miss him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this one, right up till it left me hanging. I prefer books that end rather than continue, but it was a really good read.Published 5 days ago by Robert Marn
Great book, couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end!!Published 8 days ago by Thomas J Monahan
This book is a real page turner and will keep you up in the middle of the night just to finish this one chapter and before you know it you have read more. Great author.Published 27 days ago by Miss Knowitall.
Starting dense and seemingly slow, the narrative takes off and becomes riveting. John Wells is always barely credited by the agency, his only support being Ellis Shafer, who is... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lucille Bellucci
I just discovered Alex Berenson. He writes in the same rich vein as Nelson DeMille and Daniel Silva, along with others. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Widdowson
Good book.Developes the storyline very well.Exciting as always.Published 2 months ago by peter marston
Very fragmented. Story just ended and no expectation of what next. Not use to our American hero praying to Mecca. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer