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Edgar-winner Berenson's action-packed ninth John Wells novel (after 2013's The Night Ranger) finds the ex-CIA man on an Atlantic cruise with his girlfriend, Anne, to whom he proposes. Anne turns him down, saying he must choose between her or his job, and soon enough he's off on a new mission to stop Iran from killing a CIA station chief. A woman calling herself Salome, who's working for an international secret agency that may have no ties to any government, is running the operation, whose actual purpose is to trick the American government into bombing Iran. Wells must go up against the CIA as well as the secret agency in trying to ferret out the truth, but he can't accomplish it all, so the end, while satisfying, almost certainly points to a follow-up volume. Thriller fans will eagerly await the return of the estimable, if romantically challenged, Wells to finish the job. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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In whose interest is it to provoke a nuclear war between the United States and Iran? John Wells, the legendary ex-CIA agent at the center of Berenson's seven earlier incendiary sagas (The Night Ranger; The Faithful Spy), is lured from his lover's side on a Caribbean cruise to find some credible answers. Scrambling from death's door in exotic corners of distant cities and allied with one confederate in Langley, VA, Wells rips into clues to sift fact from teasing morsels. When a clear pattern begins to emerge, Wells and his ally confront total disbelief from the powers-that-be in Washington. Like an old-fashioned serial, this volcanic shocker does not end but simply sets the stage for the next adventure. Verdict Working with plot elements that are terrifyingly realistic, research that rings as true as today's headlines, and characters that brim with integrity and swagger, Berenson puts John Wells right up there with the best of espionage fiction's greatest heroes. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Readers' satisfaction with Berenson's latest John Wells thriller will depend on how comfortable they are with an open-ended, cliff-hanger ending. An eccentric billionaire is hoping to incite a war between the U.S. and Iran, and the new leaders at the CIA seem to be taking the bait. Former CIA director (now senator) Vinnie Duto and agency analyst Ellis Shafer (now on the outs with management) suspect a scam and engage freelance agent Wells off the books, of course to figure out what's going on. The trail leads first to Mexico and then to Hong Kong and Istanbul, where Wells is captured by a renegade former CIA agent who, together with a mysterious woman, is running the operation. As in the previous installments in this suspense-filled series, Berenson ratchets the tension ever higher, combining plenty of vividly detailed bloodletting with a fascinating look at geopolitics and the self-serving quagmire of governmental bureaucracy. Wells stands outside all that, a Rambo with a brain who can't resist the call to action. The clock is ticking loudly this time, though, and fans will have to wait until the next book to see if Wells saves the world one more time.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2014 Booklist