- Series: A John Wells Novel
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (February 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399155384
- ISBN-13: 978-0399155383
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 234 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Silent Man (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Berenson's well-plotted and thoughtful third thriller to feature CIA agent John Wells (after The Ghost War) finds Wells and his fellow CIA agent and fiancée, Jenny Exley, living happily together in Washington, D.C., content to devote themselves to fighting the forces of evil. One morning, while stuck in traffic on their way to CIA headquarters, men on motorcycles attack them in their minivan. Exley suffers a serious gunshot injury in an act of revenge by minions of Pierre Kowalski, an enemy from an earlier book. Meanwhile, jihadists bent on destroying America steal two small atomic bombs. These extremely clever villains, per Berenson's style, aren't mad dog idiots but credible characters with reasons, at least from their own perspective, to be doing the great evil they're planning. Fast and furious when it needs to be, this is a welcome addition to an excellent series. Berenson won an Edgar for his first novel, The Faithful Spy. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
John Wells saves the world for the third time in as many books, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Islamist jihadists manage to steal some fissionable material out of a remote Russian weapons depot, intending to build a crude atom bomb to unleash on the great Satan. Meanwhile, Wells’ love interest is nearly killed by an old enemy, sending our dour, driven hero eastward on a one-man mission of vengeance, even as the terrorists head steadily westward with their awful freight. Wells has lost some of his promise as a devout Muslim action hero (The Faithful Spy, 2006), an intriguing premise completely jettisoned here. But while Wells has grown two-dimensional, the supporting cast of holy warriors and their reluctant assistants (such as Gregor, a pathetically hulking weak link on the weapons depot’s payroll) are fleshed out and motivated far more than your typical baddies. Oddly enough, it is the terrorists’ desperate nuclear caper, plausibly detailed and convincingly problematic, that keeps the reader caring, and guessing, until the end and that keeps this series in the first rank of international thrillers. --David Wright
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John Wells is a former CIA operative and is under the protective eye of his mentor, Ellis Shafer, a sarcastic, sardonic, atheist who has John's back in any way that he can do so.
When he realizes where and who has the bomb, he acts quickly and decisively, nearly losing his own life in the process, but when all the smoke clears and it becomes known what he has done, he is a hero.
However, there's no denying that The Silent Man builds tension from its opening scenes inside Russia's super-secret nuclear production complex to its conclusion in an utterly commonplace setting within the United States. The protagonist is soldier-spy John Wells, a former Ranger who spent a decade infiltrating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and went on to work for the CIA, where he now hangs his proverbial hat. The Silent Man -- Wells himself, deeply troubled by his crumbling relationship with his partner and lover, Jennifer Exley -- is the focus of much of the book, but through Alex Berenson's pose as an omniscient narrator we roam through the minds of the Al Qaeda terrorists Wells is pursuing as well as his colleagues and rivals within the CIA and the hard-line officials at the top of Russia's nuclear establishment. Every character in this book is portrayed with fine brush strokes, emerging as a fully rendered person who acts in understandable ways (with the sole exception of the aforementioned President).
The Silent Man is the third in Alex Berenson's series about soldier-spy John Wells and his continuing efforts to keep the world safe for humanity.
The author used to be a New York Times reporter and some of the details look more authentic than others.
I specially appreciated the passage about the disillusioned fictional US Ambassador to Kremlin. When Soviet Union (a nominal superpower) became Mother Russia again, it was generally demoted from a superpower to a 'major power' and many people in Russia are not happy with that till this day (and probably never will).
An idealistic US Ambassador who prepared for this post for decades tries to do his best in Kremlin without much success. Something bit similar, I think, that is now going on with Mr. Snowden, still at the Sheremetyevo airport as I write this review.
The book is worth reading although I cannot give it all five stars like I gave Berenson's first book
BERENSON is one of the few mystery authors who delves deeply into the psyche and perceptions of characters who end up dead - a trick of story-telling not possible in non-fiction work where it's too late to interview the dead person to see how they thought and felt in the process of getting killed.
Clever plot twists, split-second revelations, agonizing anxiety, terrific tension, graphic horror and violence - all combine to give a Berenson book a classy place in the genre..