John Wells enters new territory, as he goes underground in East Africa to track four kidnapped Americans and the Somali bandits who snatched them, in the tough, thoughtful, electrifying new novel from the #1 New York Times best-selling author.
Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure.
They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field. And when he arrives, he finds that the truth behind the kidnappings is far more complex than he imagined.
The clock is ticking. The White House is edging closer to an invasion of Somalia. Wells has a unique ability to go undercover, and to make things happen, but if he can’t find the hostages soon, they’ll be dead - and the U.S. may be in a war it never should have begun.
©2013 Alex Berenson (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
Berenson's 7th John Wells installment is another solid effort that delivers. This time around Wells is contacted by his estranged son to assist in the rescue of kidnapped Americans in Africa. While the world believes a terrorist plot, Wells pieces together a more complex and sinister evolving series of motivations. As is typical, Wells struggles with his own unique brand of morality and ethical conduct. In the end Wells functions as a microcosm of the confusing mix of US intent and policy all while out-thinking everyone else.
The pacing is excellent with a gradual buildup, leading to an almost non-stop, but unclear where this is headed ending. This time out Wells is not officially CIA, but has their crucial support. At the same time, Berenson throws in numerous plot twists as well as doing an excellent job of interjecting contradictory governmental aims. In addition, the geographical translocation to Africa is refreshing to see Wells out of his element, but still quite capable. Berenson appears ready to move Wells in new directions, both personally as well as operationally.
George Guidall's narration is simply outstanding as would be expected. His range of voices is breathtaking. His flow and tone perfectly match the mood of the story.
Enjoys espionage, mystery, police procedurals, science, biographies.
I have read or listened to all the John Wells novels. I really like the character and have enjoyed every other Alex Berenson book. I struggled to finish this one, jumping out to listen to three other books before buckling down to finish this. Not because it's a good story but because I kept hoping something would happen to make it better. Truthfully the last hour is far superior, but getting there is a slog through muck and mire. I actually logged in to see if this was one of those "by famous author and some other guy you've never heard of" because it didn't read like Berenson, didn't move like Berenson and if you had never read any of his other books, could put you off the author completely. Feels like a contractual obligation, not a real effort.
Entrepreneur + Avid Reader + Concerned Political Skeptic
Alex Berenson is a seasoned reporter who has seen current combat theaters first hand - and transfers a lot of his experience through a "kick-butt" protagonist, John Wells. Wells' exploits are realistic - not supernatural - and his supporting cast should also keep a reader's interest while progressing through the seven books Berenson has written.
Furthermore, Berenson is a really good writer. He knows how to explain the undercurrents of America's fight against extremism - and weave the many details and subplots together to create an interesting, informative book.
Lastly, George Guidall brings this book to life with an excellent performance. I hope Berenson and Guidall continue with John Wells and cast.
Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.
This is the first of Berenson's novels I've read. If you like the sort of thrillers in which the only suspense is how the (super)hero will defeat his adversaries, then you probably will enjoy Night Ranger. I prefer stories with mystery in addition to adventure in which the identity of the villain and other adversaries isn't known. It was clear from the outset that Wells would somehow succeed; it is only a question of how. In this case, the high-tech superiority of the USA combines with Wells's cleverness and fighting skills to overwhelm relatively primitive, youthful Somalian militia. It is sort of believable but not at all surprising. The narrator George Guidall is one of my favorites.
I agree with the reviewer who said Berenson finally came out of the desert. Had to laugh at that, he was dead on.
I've enjoyed the education in the previous books but this had more of a "human touch". I agree with another reviewer who said Berenson gets better with each book.
I do have to wonder about Wells getting older. Keeps getting mentioned. Where is that going? Will John Wells end up behind a desk or will we see a new series?
I really really like George Guidall as a narrator and the combination of his voice and intonations with Alex Berenson makes me very happy for as long as the book lasts. This book (The Night Ranger) situated in Africa (Kenya and Somalia) perhaps isn't as good as his books on the Middle East - but more than good enough and gives a credible feel for life in Africa, the warlords, the instability etc.
I'm running out of books from my favorite authors and discovered this book which I was pleasantly surprised to read. The plot is fairly straightforward and John Wells is the hero who is half detective, and full on kick ass commando. Not too many meaningless and unnecessary threads like some books. I wasn't into the John Wells is a Muslim thing, it just doesn't work and frankly feels pointless and preachy.
George Guidall is a pleasure to listen to. He could probably read a cook book and still keep it interesting, he's that good.
Overall it's excellent, but I just couldn't give it a full 5 stars. I would give it 4.5 stars if possible. I'm sort of conflicted over the issue because it's not nearly the best of the genre in my opinion, yet 4 stars doesn't quite do it justice either.
It would have been nice to hear about some reconciliation between Wells and his son after the mission. Then again I guess it doesn't really matter. Thankfully the whole hostage thing was handled nicely and the reader (me) didn't have to feel agonized and tortured like so many hostage situations in books and movies make you feel.
Bottom line, it's a great book and I will be listening to more in the series.
Berenson's John Wells series is outstanding, and Secret Soldier is no exception. Berenson tells a great story, has a sophisticated writing style, and his research is unbelievable. Berenson continues to be the best spy novelist on the horizon.
No time spent on the actual kidnapping. No time spent on the retribution towards the guy that set them up, other than a brief discussion of what they wanted to do to him. This is my last Wells book, which is disappointing, as I do like the character.
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