The Shadow Patrol (John Wells Series #6)

The Shadow Patrol (John Wells Series #6)

4.3 38
by Alex Berenson
     
 

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In late 2009, CIA officers in Afghanistan’s Kabul station allowed a Jordanian doctor into their closest confidence. In truth, the doctor was an al-Qaeda double agent—and when he blew himself up, the station’s most senior officers died with him.

Years later, the station still hasn’t recovered. Recruiting has dried up and the agency’s

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Overview

In late 2009, CIA officers in Afghanistan’s Kabul station allowed a Jordanian doctor into their closest confidence. In truth, the doctor was an al-Qaeda double agent—and when he blew himself up, the station’s most senior officers died with him.

Years later, the station still hasn’t recovered. Recruiting has dried up and the agency’s best Afghani sources are being eliminated. At Langley, the CIA’s chiefs begin to suspect the worst: 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 began. One thing is certain: Americans are dying, and an American is responsible. Wells is the only one who can unearth the truth—if it doesn’t bury him first . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Berenson’s compelling sixth spy thriller starring ex-CIA operative John Wells (after 2011’s The Secret Soldier) highlights an unsavory aspect of the Afghanistan war: U.S. soldiers who engage in drug smuggling while fighting the Taliban. The chief bad guy, Delta sniper Daniel Francesca, kills Taliban fighters and does away with any Americans who may be onto his drug-smuggling activities. The sniper, who’s on his third tour in Afghanistan, has clearly gone over the line when it comes to morality or sanity. Francesca not only knows that Wells, who’s come to Kabul to ferret out a mole in the capital’s CIA station, is on his trail but relishes the battle. It’s this riveting duel between good and evil that will keep readers blazing through the pages, while several other more mundane plot lines get lost in the background. This consistently interesting series shows no signs of running out of steam. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Not so long ago, a source that had promised to deliver Osama bin Laden to agents at the CIA's Kabul station instead blew up the place. With the station still in disarray and agents still dying, high-ups suspect Taliban infiltration and send John Wells to investigate. It's not a pretty sight—Wells gets wind of a drug-trafficking operation that could involve agents, the military, and the Taliban working together—but Edgar Award winner Berenson should deliver a good read.
Kirkus Reviews
Former CIA tough guy John Wells is back, and this time he's busting a heroin-smuggling ring operating out of an isolated Army base in Afghanistan. After a disastrous meeting with his estranged son, Wells accepts a freelance mission offered by his old agency boss Ellis Shafer. In the aftermath of a suicide bombing that killed the station chief and several of the best agents in the CIA's Kabul station, Wells is supposed to go to Afghanistan, see how things are going, then report back to CIA chief Vince Duto. More importantly, there have been reports that a mole in the Kabul station is working with a local Taliban leader, possibly to smuggle heroin. An analyst in the Kabul station thinks a group called the Thuwanis may be the source of the heroin, and that soldiers in the U.S. Army may be involved. Posing as a wealthy Saudi anxious to help fund jihad, Wells visits the Thuwani compound and uncovers some key information. But as he and Shafer unravel the threads of the conspiracy, they just can't seem to figure out a motive, which may have more to do with revenge than money. Fans of Berenson's previous Wells novels (The Faithful Spy, 2006, etc.) will find more to like here, including plenty of superbly paced action sequences, and the kind of background that suggests a better-than-average understanding of what soldiers on the ground actually see in Afghanistan. Skeptics will continue to roll their eyes at Wells' superhuman ability to, almost at the drop of a hat, pass for a national from whichever Middle Eastern country best suits his needs. There are also a few too-convenient plot twists, including a head-scratching scene wherein a conspirator in the smuggling ring is discovered thanks to the fact that he has "friended" a co-conspirator on Facebook. However, the prose is airtight, the pacing is excellent and the phenomenal action sequences more than make up for minor weaknesses in the plot. Berenson's highly enjoyable series continues with more of the rock-solid same.
From the Publisher
“Berenson rises above the thriller genre.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The authenticity Berenson brings to his ripped-from-the-headlines stories makes them seem as vividly real and scary as nonfiction or the nightly news.”—Booklist
 
“Wells is a refreshing thriller hero, sort of the anti–Jack Bauer.”—St. Petersburg Times
 
“Superbly paced action sequences and the kind of background that suggests a better-than-average understanding of what soldiers on the ground actually see in Afghanistan.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The book never lets up as it exposes the terrors and boredom of war on the front lines.”—Providence Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399158292
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
02/21/2012
Series:
John Wells Series, #6
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Berenson rises above the thriller genre.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The authenticity Berenson brings to his ripped-from-the-headlines stories makes them seem as vividly real and scary as nonfiction or the nightly news.”—Booklist

“Wells is a refreshing thriller hero, sort of the anti–Jack Bauer.”—St. Petersburg Times

“Superbly paced action sequences and the kind of background that suggests a better-than-average understanding of what soldiers on the ground actually see in Afghanistan.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The book never lets up as it exposes the terrors and boredom of war on the front lines.”—Providence Journal

Meet the Author

As a reporter for The New York Times, Alex Berenson covered topics ranging from the occupation of Iraq to the flooding of New Orleans to the financial crimes of Bernie Madoff. His previous novels include The Faithful Spy, winner of a 2007 Edgar® Award, The Ghost War, The Silent Man, The Midnight House, and The Secret Soldier.

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The Shadow Patrol 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished in 1 day. Couldn't put it down. Fast paced read. Another great John Wells story.
LAStarks More than 1 year ago
Berenson rounds out his characters with depth not often found together with such fast-paced action. Berenson's research forms a welcome foundation for Shadow Patrol, including, (want to see more of these from all authors) a non-stereotyped southerner. Berenson is one of my favorite writers; I look forward to The Night Ranger in February.
CBH More than 1 year ago
The preface for this story took place in 2009 when the CIA, always looking for specialist agents to assist in the war on terror, thought they had found a man who was fully knowledgeable about all the enemies in the Afghanistan area to the point where, except for his immediate handler who had some doubts about this man, polished him to gain access to those who would kill all Americans, then report this information to his superiors. This preface gives the reader an excellent start to the intrigue and suspense to follow. The story advances to present day Afghanistan at a friendly forward operating base where the friendly military, some out to gain only for themselves, could fairly well come and go as needed with few checks on them. They were smart and had most of the superior officers brainwashed thinking they were always on military missions when they left the perimeters of the base. Little did they know about all the money some of these “friendly” military made on their visits to other areas. They were good but there were some higher ups that suspected something wrong was going on and decided to bring in the best intelligence person they had, John Wells, to investigate closely. Wells appeared in the authors preceding book and immediately gave readers a likeable role in almost everything he did, despite being a bit loose in morals and tougher than nails physically even though he was getting up in years. He had kept himself well conditioned, physically and mentally. Before Wells arrived in Afghanistan, there were people disappearing, bodies found, even some in charge were killed. Also before he departed for Afghanistan, he had to make a trip to meet his son who he had not seen in many years. They had their meeting but the son only knew his father as one who always had to leave rather than do things with the family. They did not part with good feelings as his son thought of his father as leaving his family once again, apparently without concern. Such was the life of a deep cover spy. When he left his son he headed for the CIA to obtain the details of his mission, should he decide to go back into action. After learning how the crookedness was going on in Afghanistan he decided he had to take this assignment so off he went to work his way into the area hopefully as an unknown. After some time Wells found a very few he could trust and far too many he did not trust. Men kept dying and not from war action. The military “thieves” had a great drug pipeline moneymaker going so why should they be expected to give that up? Wells worked in personal danger with the few he could trust along with the few he could also trust in the United States. There was a leak somewhere in the CIA and he had to plug that leak. The story is very well written and has lots of intrigue that will drag you into this investigation. I highly recommend it.
CPAC2012 More than 1 year ago
In 2009, the CIA recruited a Jordanian doctor to infiltrate al-Qaeda. Initially the doctor offered some valuable information that led to the execution of mid-level insurgents. Then, in a twist of fate, the doctor strapped explosives to his body and killed, in the process, high functionaries of CIA's Kabul station in a military compound where a meeting was going to take place. Two years later the Kabul station is still reeling from the loss. They have been left behind in the search for high level al-Qaeda operatives. The director of the CIA believes there's a mole that has infiltrated Kabul station, but no one is talking. Vinny Dutto, the CIA director, sends former CIA agent John Wells to Afghanistan to investigate, and what he uncovers is enough to question friends and foes alike. Oh boy! I wanted to read something different and I got more than I bargained for. I'm not sure I liked The Shadow Patrol enough, but it was rather due to its subject than any fault of the author. The pacing was steady and the action unpredictable most times, and the characters were fleshed out and credible. As a thriller, this novel was a solid four, but I feel I spent this last week in a war zone, that being the double edge sword that makes me feel torn as I finished The Shadow Patrol. War is brutal, I know that, but I got a full immersion in the Afghan war, complete with Army acronyms, homicidal Special Forces snipers, and major drug trafficking between mid-level al-Qaeda members and crooked army officers. I know there are bad apples anywhere, but I hold the US Army and its members in great esteem, and to imagine army personnel in that kind of scenario is simply something I'd rather not do. That being said, if you are willing to overlook that plot detail, it is possible that you gain more insight into the Afghan war than you ever did through the evening news. The good news is that I'm not done with Alex Berenson yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I likie.
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I am afan of this author and really enjoy his work very much. This one was just not his best. Too predictable and not his usual depth. However, I will keep reading him as he is a good author and an excellent writer.
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I have read all of Alex Berensons other books and I enjoyed this one very much. The Shadow Patrol is exciting and has plenty of suspense, I think Alex is very descriptive of the characters. Try it out, you'll like it. Larry W.
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