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Doha 12 Paperback – January 18, 2013
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"Doha 12 is an exciting and hard-to-put-down read of fiction, not to be overlooked." -- Midwest Book Review
"This book does this thing that I feel all thriller books should do, and that is be engaging within the first 20 pages. And I mean thoroughly engaging. Very early in the book I had a million questions and was already swept up in the story..." -- The Review Hutch (thereviewhutch.blogspot.com)
From the Author
Doha 12 is inspired by Mossad's 2010 assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai. In researching the subject, I discovered that the worlds of Mossad and Hezbollah are stranger than any novel can get away with.
If you enjoy Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series or Jack Higgins' stories of modern-day international intrigue, action and suspense, give Doha 12 a try -- I think you'll like what you find.
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I'm not pushing too hard, either. There is a great message here in the perfectly drawn characters - people can do some really crappy things for really good reasons, hate themselves for it, & yet still go on to do worse. Beliefs can uplift and betray at the same time. And this book has it all.
The plot is straightforward & yet there are plenty of twists within that seemingly confining corridor. Charnes' bio says he was an intelligence officer. I know nothing about that job, but I'd say it accounts for the utter reality of this scenario.
The main character is very easy to sympathize with & like as are many of the others. Even the 'bad' guys, easy to spot, have their good points & then there are some characters I still haven't fully made up my mind about. They were right, but wrong. Some wore white hats & others black. I never did manage to assign a hat color to another.
Highly recommended. It was the best $3 I've spent in a long time.
I rate this novel up there with some of my favorite authors
Enter Lance Charnes. He's a former Air Force Intelligence officer, as a Navy guy I won't hold that against him, with the same deft touch for precision and complex clockwork plots. That's high praise. I know, and nobody knows if Lance Charnes will leave us the same lengthy list of great novels as Ludlum. We do know that his first novel is a great start to any list. Doha 12 reminded me of Ludlum's tight plots and interesting characters with creative, yet believable histories. It's a really good first book.
Doha 12 starts with a strike at the heart of terrorism. A bombing, plotted and executed by the legendary Mossad rips through a hotel in Doha. The bombers used names of Israeli ex-patriots living scattered through Europe and the United States of America. Terror has a long memory, one that reaches back to the Terrorist attack on the Olympic Games in Munich, and how the Mossad built their reputation by tracking every one of those involved down and eliminating them. Now it's Terror's turn to make "a statement."
Enter Jacob Elder who happens to have one of the 12 names used by the Mossad. But, something else is afoot, something is happening to each of these twelve, one at a time and all evidence says that it's not a coincidence. Terror is at work again and they've returned to their roots and a time when they managed complex operations of their own and they want more than revenge.
I'm not going to go trough the characters one by one here because there were so many good characters. Charnes manages to write all of his characters, even those of lesser importance and smaller roles so that each has their own motivations, loves, hates and reasons for wanting to make their mark on the western world. This is of course expected. What's not expected and Charnes succeeded in doing was building characters, even villains that seemed very human. He was able to tap into those pseudo emotional ties that bind all people to the universe and helps them stand out as recognizable human beings. This was particularly well done with the villain set. Not only were they twisted thinkers who wanted death and Martyrdom, but we got just enough from them to recognize them as human with living breathing souls.
I'm not saying I liked the bad guys, only that, to me, it seems Charnes was able to go below skin, bone and photographic evidence of ethnic diversity and allow us, if not enough room for sympathy, these were terrorists, but enough room to see them as humans, frightened, angry and hurt, and much like their counterparts on the others side. I'd say this is one of those times where I wanted them "stopped," more than killed. It's rare that an author of a book, with such obvious boundaries between the good guys and the bad, allows enough humanity to have compassion for them. Especially in a world where Arab Born, Muslim Terrorists are so hard for western Europeans and people from the United states to understand. That's great stuff!
As for the good guys and the not so good guys? Well, their stories will bring tears to your eyes. See, this is one place where Charnes differs from Ludlum. Ludlum's characters are good and well made but they tend to have hard edges and few soft spots, even when there is a love story. With Charnes, these guys and girls suffer grievous and outrageous fortune and much of what you read them through will bring tears to the eyes of the toughest Curmudgeon. It's wonderful writing and a great example of not sparing the heroes hardships. It's something other writers could learn from. Even though I was never fond of Jacob, I did feel for him and what he went through. I know this is leaving out a set of the most complicated characters but talking about them would be too much of a spoiler, so, you'll just have to find out about them on your own.
Okay, Charnes doubles as the Ring Master for a three ring circus. There are at least three distinct plot threads at work here, not to mention the sub-plots dragged into the story through the characters back stories. Like gears a ticking clock, all three plot-lines turn on each other leaving bodies, buildings and lives shattered in its wake.
This is more of a police story, than the kind of espionage stories written by Ludlum and Bagely. Rather than the CIA against terror, or the FBI, this story is more the NYPD and some unexpected friends. It gets hard to tell the good guys from the bad and trust me, there's lots of things blowing up, getting shot and destroyed. But the story is tight. Things don't get frayed towards the end.
It's just a multi-layered plot with complex parts and in the center of it, two lost souls tryin' to stay alive. I'll also add that it's very well researched.
All authors have to build a world for their stories, even those who write autobiographies. This is a realistic modern world taken from the headlines. There's a little bit of super-spy embellishment, but even that is believable and frightening. There's another level to Jacob the Doha 12 and each of their stories remind me of people trying to escape an old life and start a new one as if the first didn't count, or didn't matter. Yet all lives matter, even if you get to start it over. This wold of the Expatriate Israeli, as each tried to build their new lives had a rich feel to it. I also liked Jacob's family. I consider this world building. I also liked the way it felt like New York City and Detroit. Charnes wrote pictures that made sense in my head and they were recognizable. That's just good writing. I also applaud Charnes ability to write a story that takes place mostly on U.S. Soil that isn't a Rah-Rah admiration exercise glorifying the United States in some way. In that respect, writing people with character, heroism, terror, and those who just wanted to stay alive and find themselves with hope for tomorrow painted a better picture deserving of more respect for those who do go on the front line. Battling on the front line is easy if your a superhero. It's not if your just like everyone else, and for some reason, you choose to hang on to your courage a fraction of a second longer than the next guy. That's what makes you a real hero.
5 stars for a new suspense/espionage thriller by Lance Charnes. Doha 12 reads like a Ludlum Thriller, with endearing human characters, both villan and hero. The book has a tight complex plot that clicks through the pages like clockwork. Through it all, the thread of humanity that binds us all together is on display and what you see there will bring tears to your eyes and make your heart ache as the story takes us to the worse emotional places. It's a great story, well written and highly recommended. Keep a box of tissues nearby.
1) There is a lot of violence in this book. What would you expect from terrorists and those out to stop them. I feel the violence is within the scope of the plot and story and in no way is gratuitous. It is violent so if you don't like reading about somebody getting really hurt or killed, take it easy with this book.
2) The main characters have difficult stories. Not just their past, but what they survive in this book, or don't survive. It's what I'd call a "lethal" story in the sense that the good guys, the ones we care about get hurt or killed. You'll like these characters and those at home around them, and they'll get hurt. It's part of what makes them so human and I approve of the way Charnes wrote them through these hardships. Still, if you get connected with the characters in books you read, this one's going to hit where it hurts. Keep a box of tissues close by as you read.
3) Pain and hardship is delivered upon youth. Again, I feel this is not gratuitous or over the top, and it's well managed by Charnes. It's also part of what helps us learn to love and pull for the heroes as well as what makes us mourn for the villains as well. It's also difficult to read if your a father of two small children. To me, as it is presented here that makes this very good writing in that it could affect me so. I also know that means that it might be hard to read for some people. This is an adult story set in a realistic, if fictional world. Like I said, keep the tissues handy.
4) This doesn't' go the direction most people might expect it to go. It allows for compassion towards all people from all places. Strange as it is, some people have trouble doing that, especially when speaking of Terrorists. Some people also have valid reasons for having trouble with anything that allows compassion for the enemy. For the rest, trust me, it's only a sign that this is a well written story. Have faith.
When a fellow independent novelist and prolific reviewer mentioned DOHA 12 and my own thriller as "gems" in the pile of independent submissions, I knew I had to read it. I'd heard of DOHA 12, but needed a push to get it to the top of my TBR list. Boy, I'm glad I did. This is a great read and a terrific thriller. It ranks right up there with anything Robert Ludlum or James Patterson ever wrote. The story is totally compelling and believable, but the thing that makes this thriller stand out is that--unlike many others in this genre--DOHA 12 has heart. Mr. Charnes has created a cast of characters that you can care for (even some of the bad guys). You understand their motivations and feelings. Identifying with these characters will keep you riveted to the story. That's hard to do with the large cast of characters that populate DOHA 12.
But above all, DOHA 12 is a page-turner. The Mossad has made a horrible error in using the identities of twelve real people to pull off the assassination of a Hezbollah leader, hence the title DOHA 12. Now, Hezbollah is going to make the Zionists pay. They are going to assassinate the real people whose identities the Israeli intelligence service used. They begin by picking off their European targets, but then they move to America. Caught in the crosshairs are two of their three American targets, Jake and Miriam. Both veterans the Israeli armed forces, they now reside in the U.S. To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that their story is the engine that propels DOHA 12 to its dramatic and exciting climax.
Concerned about taking a chance on an independent novel? Don't be. DOHA 12 should be on the Bestseller table at your local book store.