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The Counterfeit Agent (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: A John Wells Novel (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st Printing edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159732
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers’ satisfaction with Berenson’s latest John Wells thriller will depend on how comfortable they are with an open-ended, cliff-hanger ending. An eccentric billionaire is hoping to incite a war between the U.S. and Iran, and the new leaders at the CIA seem to be taking the bait. Former CIA director (now senator) Vinnie Duto and agency analyst Ellis Shafer (now on the outs with management) suspect a scam and engage freelance agent Wells—off the books, of course—to figure out what’s going on. The trail leads first to Mexico and then to Hong Kong and Istanbul, where Wells is captured by a renegade former CIA agent who, together with a mysterious woman, is running the operation. As in the previous installments in this suspense-filled series, 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. --Bill Ott

Review

Praise for The Counterfeit Agent
 
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

More About the Author

As a reporter for The New York Times, Alex Berenson has covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans to the financial crimes of Bernie Madoff.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson VINE VOICE on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alex Berenson has struck again with another brilliant John Wells thriller. Drawing deeply on a superb understanding of geopolitics Berenson takes threads from the rise of non-state actors, dark money in politics, the Iranian nuclear program and of course every politicians fear that they are going to be labeled as soft on Iran and unsupportive of Israel to develop a story line that moves as fast as a race car on the Utah salt flats. Add a proven character and a great sense of narrative and you have a brilliant novel.

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
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on February 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I started this series with the first entry, "The Faithful Spy", and have read each new entry as soon as released (in fact, some even earlier, with advance reviewer copies through the Vine program, such as this book).

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.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on February 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you like espionage books, and you are not reading this series, you are missing out on one of the best. I have been reading thrillers and espionage books for years, starting with Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follett, just to name some of the older ones.....The new ones, Silva, Clancy, Flynn, Greaney, I could keep going. My point? Alex Berenson is up there with the best. His character, John Wells, is very different than your normal character, the first book found him under deep cover with Islamist extremists, and he converted to Islam after so many years undercover. That is way different than the expected hero. Then circumstances bring him back into the world, and the series takes off.
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Evans on April 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book does not have an ending, but a silly cliffhanger to make you buy another. Poor show. Wouldn't recommend this.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David K. Smith on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any time an author is writing a series where the story is incomplete until the next book is written they should be required to disclose it. The story line is fairly fragmented, but not too bad while it lasts. Unfortunately, it stops without coming to a conclusion. Since this is a currently written book the reader now has to wait until, if ever, the author decides to finish the story. I have read several other books where the author has done this and then simply not finished the story. I believe this is at the very least rude and possibly a stronger word would be appropriate.
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