Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guest Review: The Silent Man

I am so excited to welcome back Booking Pap Pap! Since he's now retired with some time on his hands, he has agreed to help me with some of my TBR pile! I thought THE SILENT MAN by Alex Berenson would be a good fit because he enjoys suspense/thriller type books.

Summary: From the #1 New York Times– bestselling author comes another remarkable novel of espionage today— and right around the corner.

Alex Berenson’s The Faithful Spy was declared “one of the best spy stories ever told” (The Wall Street Journal), and The Ghost War “mesmerizing . . . an extraordinary achievement. Wells is a complex blend of smarts, scars, cynicism and wile. And the book’s imaginings seem not so much ‘ripped from the headlines’ as eerily destined to be set in type for tomorrow’s” (The News & Observer). Berenson’s third novel, however, is his most masterful yet.

It isn’t easy to steal warheads from the heart of Russia’s nuclear complex in Mayak. It requires a great deal of money, coordination, ingenuity, and sleight-of-hand, and just a touch of luck. But if you’re determined enough, anything is possible.

It’s been a rough few years for CIA agent John Wells. The undercover work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the attack on the United States, the Chinese plot that could have led to war. Wells is exhausted, and his nights filled with disturbing dreams. But he knows he has no time for that. He has made many enemies, and the world won’t stay quiet for long.

Nevertheless, Wells is not prepared for what is about to happen. He and his colleague—and fiancée—Jennifer Exley are driving into work when traffic comes to a standstill, due to accidents on both bridges into Washington. A pretty big coincidence, he thinks, beginning to get a bad feeling—a feeling that only gets worse when he spots the red motorcycle zooming up between cars toward him. Before the day is over, several people will be dead or severely injured, Exley among them, and Wells will be a man possessed.

The attackers are Russian, and it is to Russia that Wells must follow the trail. He finds what he’s looking for—but also a great deal more. A plan of almost unimaginable consequences is in motion, and Wells has no idea if he has discovered it in time. The last few years have been rough indeed, but the next few weeks will be much, much worse.

Real-world threats, authentic details, a scenario as dramatic as it is chillingly plausible, Alex Berenson’s new novel is another “timely reminder of the extremely precarious way we live now” (The Washington Post).
-- Putnam Adult

Spy thrillers are one of my favorite reading subject matters and The Silent man by Alex Berenson doe not disappoint. Berenson uses the age-old formula of a wily, intelligent federal agent, his relationship with a beautiful woman and a complex world crisis as a setting for his novel.

What makes this book unique is Berenson’s ability to take this formula and put it into a realistic modern day scenario of a “new” Russian cold war, Islamic terrorism and the threat of nuclear weapons getting into the wrong hands. Berenson’s uses his knowledge of the Arab world and his significant attention to detail to make the story a plausible real life adventure.

Berenson’s hero, CIA agent John Wells, is an experienced agent who doesn’t always follow the rules. After he and his fiancée are nearly murdered, he seeks revenge despite the objection of the CIA and his fiancée. He soon discovers that his hunt for his assailants leads him into a sinister plot to harm America. Wells’ finds it necessary to put his personal vendetta aside in order to prevent the terrorist plot. Wells uses a combination of cooperation with his agency (highly unusual with these “hero” type agents) and his own intuition to finally solve the case.

Two issues stood out for me while reading The Silent Man. First, Berenson’s book is nearly absent of profanity and detailed sexual encounters. It’s nice to know a book can be exciting and intense without shocking the reader with overused sex and language issues. Second, even though there are a significant number of killings, the author avoids going into the gory detail of each one.
The book had a nice personal touch for me because of the inclusion of Penn State University, my alma mater.

By the way I think you’ll have to read Alex Berenson’s next John Wells novel to find out if he gets the girl.

Thanks for the great review -- I think I'm going to have to read this one soon. And thanks to Anna from FSB Associates for sending me this book.

6 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I have this one in my stacks and Booking Pap Pap's review just made me want to get to it soon!

Beth F said...

Nice review!! Thanks. The PSU reference means I need to at least check it out.

Karlie said...

Nice review Booking Pap Pap. It is refreshing that the author did not have to overuse violence to get his story across.

Alyce said...

I’m just dropping by to let you know that I’ve given you an award! http://athomewithbooks.blogspot.com/2009/03/awards-roundup.html

Amy said...

Thanks for the review Booking Pap Pap! I look forward to reading this soon!

Cheryl said...

This sounds like my kind og book. Nice review