THE DEVIL'S LIGHT, by Richard North Patterson, is a complex political thriller about what would happen if Al Qaeda got its hands on a bomb, and the race against time to stop the destruction of the world as we know it.
The novel opens with Osama Bin Laden planning a massive attack for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Plans are made to procure a nuclear weapon and then to drop it on an unknown city. CIA agent Brooke Chandler is working in Washington DC after blowing his cover on a mission in Beirut. Through a mentor, he is brought in on the investigation, and is soon engaged in a mad chase to prevent the terrorists from destroying a major city and causing a nuclear war.
There's no point in elaborating on the plot other that to say it is extremely well researched, and that is the main problem of the novel. Throughout the beginning of the novel, and even later, characters give long talks about the history of violence in the middle east. Conversations exist only to inform the reader about the differences in Shia and Sunni, or how Hezbollah came into existence. I enjoyed the learning, but education doesn't equate to great storytelling.
Patterson is a liberal intellectual. As a "right-winger", I've still enjoyed all of his novels. On the political issues, he's about as fair as can be expected. But, this book might be too timely, too heavy, or too political to be enjoyed. It definitely isn't light reading, and Patterson seems to put a bit more blame Israel for causing much of the violence. I'm not judging his opinions, but just giving my opinion on what he's written.
Overall, this book is good because of the knowledge and research it took to write it. It isn't good because of the same reason. Patterson is at his best when he can spend several chapters exploring the depths of his characters. Instead, it is wasted here exploring why Israel is hated by everyone else in the middle east.