I love a good action-spy-terrorist-FBI-Secret-Service-double-crossing-political-thriller. There are four authors in this genre that I turn to again anI love a good action-spy-terrorist-FBI-Secret-Service-double-crossing-political-thriller. There are four authors in this genre that I turn to again and again, and they never disappoint. Sorry that I can't add Brad Thor to the list.
Not that it didn't start out with a brilliant, and I mean BRILLIANT crime. The kidnapping of the president was really well done. Loved it.
But then, The Lions of Lucerne turned into a Nancy Drew mystery: The Case of the Missing President (plus lots of strong language and violence). The clues were so obvious as to make the terrorist kidnappers look like a bunch of rank amateurs. Each bit of evidence was so over-explained, I felt I was being talked down to. We follow Secret Service Agent Scot Harvath as he is battered, beaten, shot at, stabbed, nearly drowned, etc. He has a couple of friends who provide key clues, and one introduces him to the only other person on the planet who could figure this out, who just happens to be a beautiful woman. And, just like in Nancy Drew, during the interview of the bad guy, an odd turn of phrase turns into the key clue that helps them solve the case! Wow!
Also annoying, the reader is constantly reminded (through "tell" as much as "show") of how smart, tough, strong, well-trained, quick-thinking and handsome the hero is.
I have another Brad Thor book on my "to read" shelf, loaned to me by my dad, who told me this one was the better of the two. Hmm. Hard to get excited about that one...
I won an ARC copy of this book on a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway, and I feel guilty about it. I would have bought this book had I not won it. I haveI won an ARC copy of this book on a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway, and I feel guilty about it. I would have bought this book had I not won it. I have bought and enjoyed a couple of others in this John Wells series. So this wasn't a test-drive of a new author for me, but a small windfall; a gift. I knew I'd like it. And it arrived on my birthday, thankyouverymuch. But I digress.
In this installment, Alex Berenson's protagonist, John Wells, is hunting down Saudi terrorists operating inside Saudi Arabia. The reader gets just the right amount of background info on the kingdom and the Saudi royal family which I found very interesting and topical (I never understood why they have so many princes; now I get it). The pace is fast, the action is exciting, the violence is violent, and Wells is brilliant.
One event in the book struck me as very similar to a wonderfully intense scene from the movie "The Kingdom". Was Mr. Berenson inspired by the movie, or did both he and the movie-makers recreate this scene from real life events? That's a frightening thought.
I was glad to see that missing one or two books in this series didn't hurt my enjoyment of this one. It did make me want to go back and read them; this series is so good that I am anxious to read another of Wells' adventures, as well as fill in some blanks about Wells leaving the CIA.
Alex Berenson's writing, plot and characters in his spy thrillers bear similarities to Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series. I think Berenson's John Wells is a little edgier, though, maybe because he is a convert to Islam, which makes me go "hmmm". He's also more of a loner, which provides a cleaner storyline; less political interference, more action. I love Wells' little bit of witty banter with his cohorts. He's not as hysterical as Nelson DeMille's John Corey, but he can be funny, still, and it fits the character. I also love that he's feeling his age. Me, too.
A very exciting read. I enjoyed every minute of it. As with the other books in this series, this book is highly recommended to those who enjoy spy thrillers and those who need to discover them!...more