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The Silent Man (John Wells #3)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  7,310 Ratings  ·  290 Reviews
"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 ...more
Audio CD, Unabridged , 13 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Penguin Audio
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Community Reviews

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James Thane
This is the third book by Alex Berenson to feature CIA agent John Wells, after The Faithful Spy and The Ghost War. In each of the first two books, Wells was forced to save the U.S. from incalculable damage, almost single-handedly and at great cost to his own personal well-being. After all he's been through, you'd think the poor guy would deserve a vacation, but no such luck.

As this book opens, Islamic jihadists manage to steal two nuclear weapons from a Russian arms depot. Not surprisingly, they
Kyle Pennekamp
This is the third of Berenson's spy thrillers starring John Wells that I've read... and I think it's the weakest thus far. I loved the first, THE FAITHFUL SPY, because of Wells' uniqueness: he was coming out from under 10 years of cover in the Taliban, where he'd converted to Islam, was deeply religious, and stoo as a real fish out of water when he returned to the Western world of America in order to save it. Interesting moral conundrums abounded, and it felt fresh. In THE GHOST WAR, Wells wasn' ...more
Ned Frederick
Feb 26, 2009 Ned Frederick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High quality thriller. Exquisite detail about nuclear terrorism. If you are tired of being scared s%#tless by the media about this topic, there is some ironically reassuring comfort in the revealed details that governments to to secure their nukes. Not to oversell its enducational value... Like Berenson's other John Wells books it's also just a great read.
Nov 03, 2016 Tina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ohhh my lord these books
Toni Osborne
Book 3 in the John Wells series

The tale involves the theft of Russian made nuclear warheads to be used in an effort to trigger a U.S.-Russia conflict. Muslim terrorists calculate the ideal time and place would be Washington during the State of the Union address, payback for decades of Western domination and oppression.

The story is vividly told and plunges its readers into a scary minute-by- minute fictional account of how the militants steal two nuclear weapons, smuggle them into the U.S and o
Apr 16, 2013 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Berenson, Alex (2009). The Silent Man. New York: Penguin/Jove.

John Wells, contract government tough guy, is back to fighting Islamic extremists, as he did in Berenson’s The Faithful Spy (2006). But the story begins as a revenge tale, when Russian bad guys from his past attack him and his fiancé. He shoots them all dead of course, but his woman takes a serious abdominal wound and is laid up for the rest of the novel. With CIA/NSA help, he tracks the source of the attack to Moscow. He gets on a pl
Oct 17, 2012 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Berenson is a former journalist who writes intelligently and knowledgeably about the war on terror, the context in which his novels are set. And he's developed an interesting but somewhat opaque lead character in CIA operative John Wells. Wells served undercover for many years in Afghanistan, during which time he converted (sincerely) to Islam. Now he's back home and his default situation seems to be that he keeps trying to quit the spy business but keeps getting lured back to the CIA to take pa ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Wells Foils Islamic Nuclear Bomb Plans for DC. Rag heads shape frustration into hatred for the US and hatch a plot to explode a nuclear weapon in Washington. After stealing two small bombs from the Russian depot in Ozersk, they convey the weapons and other components needed to dismantle the existing weapon to overcome its failsafes and assemble a new bomb. Wells and Exley are targeted for assassination by arms dealer Pierre Kowalski, and Jenn is seriously wounded in the attempt. Wells secre ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Wells is the James Bond for the twenty-first century; grumpy rather than glib and frumpy rather than tailored but still with a “license to kill”-- at least in his own mind, and he definitely knows how to use it. Here, he pursues a group of Muslim fundamental extremists after they pull off a monumental theft that has the capability of plunging the world into a new and possibly final war. But his incredible feats of strength and extraordinary runs of luck seem to be more tempered this time ar ...more
Byron Lord
Feb 16, 2014 Byron Lord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Byron by: my wife
Another thriller, Alex Berenson takes us to the brink of thermo nuclear destruction. Over 60 kilos of highly enriched uranium, HEU, have been stolen from Russia. We track the plot from the beginning; we see the commitment and dedication of our enemies. We see the commitment of those who serve to protect us from the hatred of all things American by Al Qaeda. We watch as the HEU travels to America and see the bomb assembled. And we see how small strands unravel to reveal what has happened and the ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I keep giving these books three stars, but if you evaluated them only against other novels in the same genre, they'd be worth five. Sure, John Wells has a Forrest Gump-like knack for turning up wherever something important's going on (or he can talk someone into flying him there in a helicopter at government expense), and he can bounce back from gunshot wounds like I would from a papercut. But what makes these books rise above their genre is the portrayal of the bad guys and especially the well- ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Bonnie rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure why I didn't like this story better. The plot is certainly interesting and really horrifying: terrorists planning to explode an atomic bomb in the United States. I think part of the problem is the characterization of Mr. Wells. He seems rather generic in this book, interchangeable with any covert operative in the CIA.

One thing I really liked about this book: its lack of foul language. Midway through the book I realized that I hadn't heard "that word that starts with f" at all
Apr 01, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
This an another exciting entry in the John Wells series. A crackerjack of a spy story, even if the wrap up seemed to occur very rapidly and seemed to be almost based on coincidence then good spymanship.

Wells continues to be an interesting character. Sickened by killing, but always prepared to do it again. Further, his girlfriend is increasingly uncomfortable with Wells' willingness to get back to where the action is, even though the agency pretty much holds him on as tight of a leash as they ca
Daniel Audet
Nov 20, 2010 Daniel Audet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third in the series with the infamous John Wells. Ya gotta love this guy. Why? He likes motorcycles, that's why. Wells is on the case in another adventure that will put him face to face with evil, yet again, with edgy realism. Berenson is, no doubt, an intellectual, judging from the all-to-real detail of what's really going on in the world and the articulate narration and dialogue, however......the author also succeeds in keeping Wells, and the story, and all the players, including the guys ...more
Jun 21, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to really force myself to finish this one. It was plodding and dragged boringly on in spite of the storyline being decent.
At times I wondered if the author was politically and/or religiously on the side of the fundamentalists.
There were some details and passages that showed lack of research. Can metal parts fit together with a tolerance of 1 mm after being cast in a mold? There is strangely no mention of a metal lathe or milling machine.
Do teams of special ops really say a prayer before a
Jul 25, 2011 Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, reviewed
The Silent Man is another great book from Berenson that features the character John Wells. It is action-packed and suspenseful as the book is centered around the scare of a nuclear explosion. I really enjoy Alex Berenson's writing style, he has a way of keeping your interest throughout the entire book. Alex Berenson is the real deal, anyone who enjoys reading political thrillers should try his books. I will definitely be reading the next book from Alex Berenson.
May 30, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, better than the last one I thought. It started out to the a Russians are the bad guys kind of a book, but ended up with the middle east as the bad guys again. I think his books tend to go a little long, but that may just be me. I was finishing this one up so I could read Stephen King's latest.
Dec 28, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 3 of the John Wells series features a plausible scenario and unexpected plot twists - help from an unexpected source and the apparent departure of a primary character from the first three books - that make for tense reading that is less predictable than other books of this genre. I am anxious to read the 4th installment in this series.
CIA super operative John Wells is back for a third adventure and while I found this to be a perfectly enjoyable listen (read by George Guidall) it was not quite as good as the previous two books. This one got bogged down a bit with technical details of nuclear weapons and the ending, while exciting, seemed a bit rushed.
Feb 07, 2016 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex Berenson's John Wells series gets better and better with each book. This one was excellent!
Apr 16, 2013 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 stars.

Spy extraordinaire John Well’s is back and this time the crap’s hitting the fan in Russia. A few months have passed and in the interim, Wells and Exley have become engaged and moved into a house of their own. The two are still under constant surveillance, which is a good thing because arms dealer Pierre Kowalski is hell-bent on revenge for what John did to him when he interrogated the arms dealer in the Hamptons over the summer.

Most of the first hundred pages of the book isn’t even ab
Feb 21, 2010 Samantha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of spy fiction
Shelves: spy-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Chase
Feb 27, 2017 Sharon Chase rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A very relevant book in today's world. A little too much "thanks to the U.S." for saving the world" for me, but the storyline is excellent. It could happen.
Scott Holstad
Oct 17, 2014 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another good book in the John Wells series by Alex Berenson. It's the third book. In the first two, CIA agent John Wells has pretty much saved the world, or at least the US, so it's hard to imagine the author being able to concoct another plot that would live up to the first two. But he does. The book opens with a Russian scientist at a nuclear facility who is pressured into helping to improbably steal two nuclear bombs for Muslim militants. They intend to detonate the bombs in Washingto ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 to 4 stars - In The Silent Man there are two main story lines taking place. One is a carryover from the The Ghost War, which finds one of John Wells’ many enemies trying to exact revenge, another in which terrorists have managed to steal nuclear bombs from a Russian storage site. The first I’m not going to go into because I don’t want to give anything away, other than that his actions give Duto something that might be held over his head. The second, as usual, finds Wells’ going around the worl ...more
Bouchra Rebiai
As a person who prefers movies to books when it comes to action and thrillers, I found this book far more better than any movie I watched so far. John Wells isn't depicted as the super-spy with great skills and some personal conflict, rather, the personal conflict is what puts most of this story into action. First of all, the assassination attempt. How Wells is affected by it, and what his immediate impulses are. In a movie, you can't see what's going on in the head of the character, so you fill ...more
Matt Crumpton
Just finished this book. Probably the least favorite of mine so far in the John Wells saga. Could not get into the story at first, but then it started to pick up and became a page turner. Its a good read but nothing new in this book. Terrorists trying to destroy a America with a semi homemade nuclear bomb. Once again the ending is very weak, and a bit predictable. I am not saying I hated the book, the book is good. "Faithful Spy", and "Ghost War" are better. I think I will give John Wells a rest ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Jerome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Berenson's best effort, but, in all, this was still a pretty good thriller.

In the other Berenson novels, Wells is a sympathetic, human character, the opposite of the wooden, unrealistic whiner-but-tough-guy-but-whiner Mitch Rapp, (who claims to be nonpolitical but complains about politicians as if they're the ones trying to assassinate him all the time).

The characters were more lifeless than in Berenson's previous masterpieces, and, impossibly, Wells makes Mitch Rapp seem sympathetic. Imposs
Oct 30, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-crossing
John Wells is a CIA agent who has had a rough time the past couple of years. In two previous books by Berenson, The Faithful Spy and The Ghost War, Wells is the hero who must save the world in some way. And The Silent Man is no different. I have not read the other two books, but I can vouch for the fact that this book stands on its own - no need to read the other two first.
The Silent Man is the story of an Iraqi man who becomes a jihadi after his family is killed during the American invasion of
Disclosure: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I went back and forth between a rating of 3 stars or 4 and finally decided on 3. "The Silent Man" was a solid 3 where it otherwise would have been a weak 4.

I was not familiar with the John Wells protagonist so I did lack some of his history, but that did not detract from this third offering in the series, which I enjoyed overall.

What made it a solid 3:

The character of John Wells is an intriguing man. He was genuinely flawed
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Other Books in the Series

John Wells (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Faithful Spy (John Wells, #1)
  • The Ghost War (John Wells, #2)
  • The Midnight House (John Wells, #4)
  • The Secret Soldier  (John Wells, #5)
  • The Shadow Patrol (John Wells, #6)
  • The Night Ranger (John Wells, #7)
  • The Counterfeit Agent (John Wells, #8)
  • Twelve Days (John Wells, #9)
  • The Wolves (John Wells, #10)
  • The Prisoner (John Wells, #11)

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“Rosette disappeared onto the dance floor. Wells sat in silence for a minute, watching the dancers. The worldwide cult of fast money spent stupidly. The worldwide cult of trying too hard. Moscow, Rio, Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, London, Shanghai--the story was the same everywhere. The same overloud music, the same overpromoted brand names, the same fake tits, about as erotic as helium balloons. Everywhere an orgy of empty consumption and bad sex. Las Vegas was the cult's world headquarters, Donald Trump its patron saint. Wells had spent ten years in the barren mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He never wanted to live there again. But if he had to choose between an eternity there or in the supposed luxury of this club, he'd go back without a second thought.” 9 likes
“But no one was indispensable. These guys, they lost a step and the game moved past them. The teams were eternal, but the players came and went. One” 0 likes
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