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The Shadow Patrol (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 21, 2012
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“Wells is a refreshing thriller hero, sort of the anti–Jack Bauer.”—St. Petersburg Times
“Superbly paced action sequences and the kind of background that suggests a better-than-average understanding of what soldiers on the ground actually see in Afghanistan.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The book never lets up as it exposes the terrors and boredom of war on the front lines.”—Providence Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Alex Berenson’s novels have been hailed as “heart-stopping” (USA Today), “terrifying” (The New York Times Book Review), and in the case of The Faithful Spy, “one of the best spy stories ever told” (The Wall Street Journal). The reason is not only their brilliant plotting and some of the best characters in modern suspense fiction, but Berenson’s cutting-edge examination of the very real dangers confronting us. They’re not only “superbly crafted” (Kirkus Reviews), they’re about the way we live now.
As a reporter for The New York Times, Alex Berenson covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans to the financial crimes of Bernie Madoff. His previous novels include The Faithful Spy, winner of the Edgar Award; The Ghost War; The Silent Man; The Midnight House; and The Secret Soldier. Berenson lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Similar to the first five books in Berenson's John Wells series, The Shadow Patrol is entertaining and well-researched. However, relative to the other books, The Shadow Patrol is not quite as well-plotted, nor is it as much of a page-turner. Further on a comparative basis, The Shadow Patrol falls somewhat short in terms of dimensionalizing his main character and particularly his supportive characters; to the point that readers that have not read any of this author's previous books might feel that they don't know the characters as well as they would have liked in order to care more about them. Additionally, the plot tends to drag too much at various times during the middle of the book.
Despite these comparative flaws The Shadow Patrol is a worthwhile read and one that I think espionage/spy genre readers will enjoy. I'd suggest, however, that before reading The Shadow Patrol 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 characters they will meet in this book.
Ever since leaving the CIA, Wells has found himself working more as a freelancing troubleshooter than a spy, last time for the Saudi royal family, this time for his old bosses at the Agency.
An agency op in Afghanistan goes badly wrong, leaving several case officers dead and the resident office in an administrative shambles. An army Stryker unit - a platoon-sized outfit of mechanized infantry - is involved in moving drugs from Afghan Taliban suppliers through to the States, with the help of a couple of Delta snipers and another American who seems to have his own agenda.
Wells is called on to go to Afghanistan as an "unofficial" representative of his old CIA boss Vinnie Duto to assess the effectiveness of the resident office as a viable force, and in doing so he stumbles onto the problems arising from the disaster that wiped out so many of the local Agency operatives.
How this evolves, and Well's actions in addressing these problems, form the crux of the story.
Berenson weaves an intricate and involving story here that blends the espionage and military genres masterfully. In many ways this book is evocative of the military novels of Nelson DeMille - particularly "The General's Daughter" - though the crimes at its heart are of a very different nature. The characters are well-realized and three-dimensional; it's well-plotted; and I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. In other words, what we've come to expect from Berenson.
A very solid four stars; maybe 4 ½.
In a plot turn straight from the real life, an agency operation in Afghanistan goes wrong, leaving several CIA case officers dead and the station in administrative chasos. A a platoon-sized outfit of mechanized infantry (Strykers) is involved in a drug trafficking scheme, with help of two Special Forces snipers and another government agent with a hiddent agenda. disaster that wiped out so many of the local Agency operatives. Wells is invited back by his former boss to investigate the mess.
Berenson does a fabulous job with the plot, writing an engaging series of events that really makes it hard to put the book down. There is a masterful mix of agency and military options, and it's clear Berenson has done his homework. Theres a wonderful mix of military strategy, a touch of politics (without being heavy-handed) and intrigue that makes this book very compelling. Moreover, the characters are multi-dimenstional for the most part.
I am very reluctant to pay full price (12.99 - 14.99) and stick mostly to other authors because of this. This is one book that is well worth the money. It's a great read.
THE SHADOW PATROL, by Alex Berenson, is the continuing saga of the author's hero, John Wells, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative whom we first met in The Faithful Spy at the end of a years-long undercover assignment to infiltrate al-Qaeda in the mountains of Pakistan, in the process of which he became a devout Muslim. Now, back living a sometimes uneasy life in the United States, John is asked by his former employers to do another job; go to Afghanistan and investigate a vague report that the CIA is buying opium ‒ a tenuous thread that soon becomes a complex tapestry of revenge, greed, treason, and dereliction of duty involving both the CIA and the U.S. Army compared to which the Afghani Pashtun freedom fighters seem at least honorable.
For my money, all of the John Wells books are about as intelligently written as contemporary action/spy thrillers get. (One could ask for more, but more can be difficult to stumble across.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great series---I have gobbled all of Berenson's books in the last month. Wish there were more.Published 21 days ago by Patricia M. Doherty
Good story line with a lot of military detail. Abrupt ending.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
A new writer to me and am enjoying the journey of John Wells. I do find myself wondering about how this series will come to a close. John is aging and getting tired. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hildegarde Ayer
Another great book in a great series. Wells is the perfect hero, human and determined to do the right thing, according to John.Published 2 months ago by Kayaker MIC
This is a great introduction to the almost impossible challenge of Afghanistan and the pressures of war that can twist souls and destroy lives. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Newt Gingrich