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The Night Ranger (A John Wells Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Alex Berenson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.72
You Save: $2.27 (23%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

John Wells enters new territory, as he goes underground in East Africa to track four kidnapped Americans and the Somali bandits who snatched them, in the tough, thoughtful, electrifying new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure.

They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field. And when he arrives, he finds that the truth behind the kidnappings is far more complex than he imagined.

The clock is ticking. The White House is edging closer to an invasion of Somalia. Wells has a unique ability to go undercover, and to make things happen, but if he can’t find the hostages soon, they’ll be dead – and the U.S. may be in a war it never should have begun.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Four young Americans, volunteers in a Kenyan refugee camp overflowing with Somalis, are kidnapped. Former CIA deep-cover operative John Wells is enjoying life in the New Hampshire woods with his lady, Anne, until his estranged son implores him to go to Africa to rescue the hostages. Reluctantly, for Wells’ expertise is the Middle East, the practicing Muslim heads for Africa as pressure mounts on the White House to invade Somalia. Another tragic war hangs on his success or failure. Berenson’s Wells novels are reliably entertaining. This one features plenty of action and insightful contextual details about Somalia, the enormous refugee camps, Kenyan and Somali culture, and the violent, Darwinian competition between rival Somali militias. And, as always, there is the shadow of CIA Director Vinnie Duto, pulling strings in the background. This time he’s on Wells’ side: as the architect of drone warfare, he doesn’t want boots on the ground in Somalia. Besides, he’s gearing up for a Senate run. Berenson’s followers will be pleased with this one. --Thomas Gaughan


“Don't miss this one.”—The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“A tense thriller that relies equally on bravery, wit, and 21st-century American firepower.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Taut prose, plausible action, and plenty of plot surprises.”—Publishers Weekly


Product Details

  • File Size: 3576 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1472209257
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; Reprint edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008U45VZC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the par of the rest of the series... A letdown February 18, 2013
Well, I guess I won't be joining in the cheering section for this book.

I won't rehash the whole story line here, as this is a review and not a synopsis. You can get that on the book's Product Page (and evidently some of the other reviews).

Here's my take. John Wells (Berenson's central character) has, throughout the rest of the series, been involved in missions with very high stakes on the geo-political stage. That lends an element of tension and import to the stories that's completely missing here.

In Africa some kids who work to aid starving Somalis in the camps are kidnapped. Wells's estranged son persuades him to get involved as a personal favor. Wells shows up and starts trying to solve the mystery of who took them: criminals seeking ransom? Terrorists? Somali rebels? Is it an inside job?

The problems as I see them are these. First of all, this is essentially a pretty small story that takes place on a pretty small stage, much smaller than we're used to seeing Wells involved in. This is more a Jack Reacher kind of story.

The book moves VERY slowly, because we follow each event in the book from several perspectives: the kidnap victims', Well's, the kidnappers', and in many cases from the perspective of Wells's ex-boss and friend Ellis Schaeffer. Though this does give us the full picture of events, it really bogs down the flow of the story.

The story never really builds up much tension; I just didn't feel it.

The big mortal blow is that there's a character central to the plot who's definitely responsible for the events that take place (I'm being circumspect so as not to write a spoiler) ... and we never get any emotional payoff of seeing him pay for what he did!

So, a big disappointment. A generous three stars.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Wells in Africa February 12, 2013
By plane
John Wells was presented to the literary world by Alex Berenson in April 2006 via his novel "The Faithful Spy". He was introduced as a CIA agent at the final point of working within an al qaeda band in Pakistan for two years. He is described as the first American to ever successfully infiltrate an al qaeda group. After that most unusual beginning John has taken part in several very well written and researched books; mainly involving Islamic terrorists as protagonists. The Night Ranger is the first Well's book set on the African continent. A group of American volunteers, two young men and two women are working with a charity group in Kenya involved in helping Somali refugees in camps there. They decide that a short vacation is needed to get away from the stress of trying to keep up with the overwhelming needs of the refugees. While traveling to the vacation area they are taken prisoner by Somali bandits whose intentions seem to be to ransom them and subsequently release them.
When their captivity drags on John Well's estranged son calls him after years of having no contact to ask him to intervene and try to free the four. One of the girls is his son's girlfriend's sister. John agrees to try and rescue the captives in order to possibly reestablish a relationship with the boy, and travels to Kenya to try and free them. Like the other Well's books the action is fast and keeps the reader glued to the pages. John, while no longer a member of the CIA coordinates his efforts with his ex supervisor since the US becomes officially interested in rescuing the volunteers, up to and including possibly sending in an invading force.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In The Night Ranger, East Africa is new territory for John Wells. But when he is asked by his estranged son --whom he has only met once and was rejected by --to try to rescue the sister of a girl he likes and three other young Americans from the Somali bandits who snatched them, he finds it impossible to say no. This is because Wells sees it as the opportunity to begin to have the father-son relationship he yearns for.

Similar to all six books in Alex Berenson's John Wells series, The Night Ranger is entertaining and well-researched, However, relative to the first five books in the series, The Night Ranger (as well as Berenson's most recent previous book, The Shadow Patrol) is not quite as well-plotted, nor is it as much of a page-turner. Further, on a comparative basis, The Night Ranger, falls somewhat short in terms of dimensionalizing his main character and particularly his supporting characters; to the point that readers who have not read any of this author's previous books might feel they don't know some of the characters as well as they would have liked in order to care more about them. A further issue I had with Berenson's characters that were taken hostage and were exposed to some horrific experiences pertained to how little they seemed to be affected by them.

Despite these flaws, The Night Ranger is an acceptable read and one with which I think many espionage/spy gender readers will be satisfied. I'd suggest, however, that before reading The Night Ranger new readers to the series begin with The Faithful Spy and at least one of the other John Wells books to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the some of the characters they will meet in this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner
Berenson keeps the reader engaged and the plot complicated and very is a real page turner and difficult to predict the ending.
Published 3 days ago by Bob Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars After the intros, can't put it down
John Wells, at his most human. Addresses the situation in Africa, without judgment or political slant. As always, Berenson empowers women a bit too, they're not just victims.
Published 4 days ago by Karyn Hayes Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great adventure. story
Good plot based on recent events. Author creates believable characters that you can care about. Very good, credible dialogue. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Edward jarvis
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Ending
I have read all of the authors books, his first still the best. The book was written quickly and lacked depth. Read more
Published 5 days ago by mengelgbp
4.0 out of 5 stars Another John Well's gripping novel
This was a typical exciting and gripping John Wells book. It had a plausible plot and the interplay between John and his CIA handlers that we have come to expect. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Night Ranger John Wells Novel
Another great read from Alex Berenson. He makes you feel like your there.Great detail but not heavy on the story just enough to remind you that there are really men like John Wells... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars not recommend
Plot predictable, lacks depth; Could have done so much more with the main character - would not read any more from this author.
Published 15 days ago by Mary Wesley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wells at his best
I love this character. The author keeps you vested in the mission and its outcome. An awesome storyline and a hood read
Published 15 days ago by Elizabeth Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars good story
I liked the story. Took a while to get me really interested. The change in the Gwen character was predictable, but did contribute to the overall story. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Michael Colacicco
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Change
Different than his usual novel somewhat predictable but so much fun it doesn't matter. Worth reading even though I really like spy novels the most right now.
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
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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.

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Looking forward to it
I started with the first Berenson book and find them entertaining, dynamic, current and well researched. Looking forward to a novel about Africa, lots of story potential, should be a good place for John Wells to mix things up!
Dec 26, 2012 by Reading in Georgia |  See all 2 posts
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