In 2009, the CIA's Kabul Station fell for a source who promised to lead it to Bin Laden, but instead he blew himself up, taking the station's most senior officers with him. Now, more than two years later, the station is still floundering, agents are dying, and at Langley the CIA's chiefs wonder if the unthinkable has happened, if somehow the Taliban has infiltrated the station.
When they ask John Wells to investigate, he reluctantly agrees to return to the country where his career as an undercover operative began. But there, he finds a vipers' nest of hostility and mistrust-and clues that hint at a drug-trafficking operation involving the Agency, the military, and the Taliban. Americans are dying, and an American is responsible. And only John Wells stands in his way... for now.
©2012 Alex Berenson (P)2012 Penguin
A warning first, this is a series with a lead character who is developed more in each novel. John Wells is flawed, complicated and you need to start from the beginning. The author does not waste pages and pages (hours and hours as you listen) repeating his character development and the events that have shaped who he is now.
That said, I downloaded this book the day it was released. I started reading Peterson's books as a result of a recommendation from other authors I had read -- Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, Brad Thor. I haven't stopped since. The stories are well-written. The characters are not cookie cutter Good Guys and Bad Guys. You root for Wells and his mission, but you understand why his life is so full of shades of grey.
In this most recent novel, Wells is tasked to finding the source and purpose of drug dealers within the American military in Afghanistan. Are these men just acting for profit? Is there a mole in the CIA (for whom Wells privately works on occasion)? Is there more to these dealings than just greed? The story flows beautifully and Wells continues to work on his own growth as an individual. Great way to escape for a few hours.
John Wells returns to roots in "The Shadow patrol" doing what he does best which is to out-man and out-gun his adversaries. The plot begins in a straightforward fashion: events in Afghanistan suggest the possibility of a CIA mole. Wells is sent to investigate in his typical poking around strategy. Eventually he stumbles into a military heroin smuggling ring. Along the way, Wells employs every trick in his tradecraft. Ellis Scheaffer is also involved stateside and displays a flair for acting and exploiting social media in creative ways.
The pacing is tight and the action is continual and well timed. There's a sense of urgency that adds to the dramatic tension. Of particular note is that Berenson recognizes and appreciates that the various sets of players are not always using the same playbook and have sets of non-identical priorities that makes for legitimate conflict. While the introspective aspects of his personality are downplayed, Wells appears to be accepting his lot in life and displays a sense of ownership and resignation for what he must do.
The narration is superb. Guidall is perfectly suited for a cloak and dagger delivery that involves messy resolutions. John Wells is a national asset and this installment further cements his standing.
Berenson continues to develop characters, write smart, on target dialogue, and craft interesting plot twists despite heroics that more than strain credulity. I like the sense of striving for a moral center in the face of relevant ethical complexity, what I think are authentic descriptions of cultures and places, and challenging some conventional thinking here in the US of A.
I have listened to over 250 books in the last 10 years. I tend to listen to certain authors and try to read all their books. I listen while exercising and driving which makes the time past enjoyable.
First the only saving grace it the reading of George Guidall, which as usual is superb. The plot is slow and boring, in that it has so many minutias, that I could not keep focus. Most of the time it did not matter, as these small details were not necessary in the whole picture. When you are listening, the minutia only detract from the plot.
I no longer live in Worcester. I now live in Brooklyn, NY.
This is John Wells #6. If you haven't read #1-5 (your loss) you are ok. Interesting to see social media used in the spy game.
I don't mind getting stuck in traffic...as long as I have an audio book playing.
Yes - strong, relateable story line.
Alex Berenson demonstrated knowledge of the politican climate of the time and also described the cultures clearly and beautifully.
I think this might be the first time, I am not sure. But I liked it.
This book doesn't live up to the Faithful Spy as far as intrigue and in dept believable story content. It was just alright for me. John Wells, is the Dirty Harry solider that can blend in with the insurgents and take out the bad guys even if they are Americans. The narration by George Guidall is always worth the credit. If you have read any of the other Wells saga's than you may agree with me... if you have not.... I still recommend this book if you can get it on sale.
This is another good book from Alex Berenson. The plot is not as entertaining as previous John Wells novels, but it has a lot of military info. George Guidall makes another fantastic performance. Even if this book was not interesting, George would still keep you listening. He is a master at getting just the right tone and speed for the character's delivery. He tells the story just as I imagine it was intended to be by Berenson. You can't go wrong with any John Wells novel...
I would expand the ending. I enjoyed the overall plot, but the epilogue starts abruptly. So abruptly, that I had expected another full chapter to wrap up a few things. It almost seems like the author had a deadline he had to meet and gave up on the last parts of the story. If it was meant to be intentional, then he could have done a better job wrapping it up.
I've listened to the prior 5 John Wells stories. I've enjoyed the series. This one is refreshing as it has a new plot. The first book was fantastic. Many of the rest (but not all) have elements that make them feel mass produced and rushed. A bit more time could have taken this from a good series to an excellent one. Given that this is one of the top selling series out there right now on this topic, it looks like this is as good as it gets...and there are a lot of people like me who got hooked on book one, and have held on through the rest of the series because it is just good enough to keep reading.
I think he is a very good narrator. I'm definitely used to him as John Wells - to the point that it would be difficult to hear someone else reading this series. I would probably give preference to other books read by him.
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