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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.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
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The chaos of East Africa and the complex realities of relief efforts in that region form the backdrop for Edgar-winner Berenson's gripping seventh thriller featuring ex-CIA agent John Wells (after 2012's The Shadow Patrol). Wells's estranged son, Evan, who views his father as "a professional vigilante at best, a war criminal at worst," calls for help after 23-year-old aid worker Gwen Murphy, a friend's sister, is kidnapped in Kenya. Murphy, who had been working in a refugee camp, was abducted with three colleagues, including the nephew of James Thompson, head of WorldCares/ChildrenFirst, the NGO running the refugee camp. Wells, who agrees to do what he can, taps an ally in the Company for assistance. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, has infiltrated the refugee camps across the border where WorldCares is operating. Taut prose, plausible action, and plenty of plot surprises ensure another winner for this perennial bestseller. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.