Patterson (In the Name of Honor) brings his usual encyclopedic research to this exploration of what is quickly becoming a tiresome thriller subgenre, the Arab terrorist with a nuclear bomb. History lectures and political lessons tend to slow what is generally an interesting if only mildly suspenseful account of a terrorist plot involving bin Laden himself from the early planning stages to the very gates of nuclear disaster. CIA agent Brooke Chandler and his retired agency mentor, Carter Grey, believe that the target of the attack, which they know is scheduled for September 11, 2011, will be Tel Aviv rather than an American city. This unpopular opinion forces the two men almost singlehandedly to hunt down a deadly terrorist, Amer Al Zaroor, to foil the bomb plot. Patterson's work is always serious, detailed, and meticulous, which makes this a scary how-to manual for terrorists, but something less for readers looking for straight-out action and thrills. (May) The Preacher Camilla Läckberg, trans. from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray Pegasus (Norton, dist.), .95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-60598-173-4 Swedish bestseller Läckberg's worthy second thriller set in the coastal town of Fjällbacka (after The Ice Princess) opens with a grim discovery—the naked fresh corpse of Tanja Schmidt, a German tourist, on top of the skeletal remains of two young women, later identified as Mona Thernblad and Siv Lantin. All three were killed in the same way, but as Det. Patrik Hedström and his team soon discover, Mona and Siv went missing in 1979, and Johannes Hult, the prime suspect in their disappearances, is long dead. The reason for a sadistic killer's reappearance may be hidden among the many secrets and conflicts of a local clan of religious eccentrics. The troubled Hults, from conniving founder (known as the Preacher) to philandering spouses, show a Ross Macdonaldesque love of twisted family relationships, while Läckberg's colorful, diverse police force, staffed with the competent, the incompetent, and the merely distracted, recalls the humanist touch of Dutch author Janwillem van de Wetering. (May)
“A nuclear bomb is about to explode in a major city whose streets will turn bright with the light of a thousand suns. In this brilliant novel, Richard North Patterson slips into t he minds of the mad and messianic and explores what it will mean for all of us if we allow an apocalyptic nightmare to become tomorrow’s history-bending reality.
THE DEVIL’S LIGHT is more than the provocative ruminations of a master story teller. It is a powerful call to action-lest we find ourselves sifting through the radiated wreckage of a truth told too late.
Masterful and illuminating, THE DEVIL’S LIGHT is Richard North Patterson at his best. You will not want, or be able to, put this story down. It is tomorrow’s catastrophe riding on the ‘gleaming wings of science.’”
—William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense
“Impossible to dismiss as mere fiction, THE DEVIL’S LIGHT is a terrifying vision of what very well could bring down our world as we know it. With its real-life spies locked in a deathly struggle, this thrillingly told novel is all too real.”
—Robert Baer, former CIA field officer and New York Times bestselling author
“The Devil’s Light will grab you from the very first page and never let go. Patterson’s amazing storytelling is made all the better by his emotionally complex characters. I was intrigued.”
-Kathy Reichs, #1 New York Times best-selling author of 206 Bones
“THE DEVIL’S LIGHT dazzles and illuminates, a page-turner that smartly and in breath-taking fashion snaps to life the complexities of the middle east and the struggle of nations and players for power. The books literally barrels along as the stakes grow ever higher. Deeply researched and thoroughly plausible, Patterson's is one of the most intelligent and entertaining thrillers about the world as it is, and the possible world to come.”
—Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers and In Harm’s Way
In Patterson's 19th thriller (after In the Name of Honor), two skilled tacticians maneuver toward an ultimate goal. Osama bin Laden orders Amer Al Zaroor, an al-Qaeda operational genius, to smuggle a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and detonate it over Tel Aviv. U.S. intelligence officials commission Brooke Chandler, a highly trained CIA agent, to prevent the devastation on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The two adversaries gain assistance from colleagues throughout the Middle East. Patterson, known for his extensive research, consulted with past and present members within the U.S. intelligence and defense communities, which enabled him to craft a highly credible plot. Their varied insights and experiences enrich Patterson's compelling story, which is also steeped with history and nuance. VERDICT Discussing nuclear proliferation, counterterrorism, and loose nuclear weapons on the anniversary of 9/11 requires authority and accuracy. Patterson masterfully achieves this objective. Fans of Patterson and other thrillers will welcome this gripping read. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
Al Qaeda gets the Bomb.
Osama bin Laden lieutenant Amer Al Zaroor has a dream: a city in flames, its buildings reduced to rubble, its inhabitants dead, its neighbors maimed, cowed and utterly demoralized. It can all come true, he promises, if only al-Qaeda can hijack a nuclear device from Pakistan. Al Zaroor's plan is ingenious and terrifyingly plausible. Since the country's nuclear arsenal will be least secure when it's being moved into position for a possible war against India, he hires bombers to provoke a crisis between the two nations and a crack team to grab a 200-pound device as trucks carry it over roads that are doubly treacherous. The theft goes off without a hitch—Pakistan even unwittingly cooperates by denying that any such theft took place—but the sharpest eyes over at the CIA aren't taken in by bin Laden's broadcast announcement that he has a bomb and intends to detonate it over a major U.S. city on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. As most of the Agency types are scurrying to secure America's porous borders, Brooke Chandler, a field officer back stateside after barely surviving his last posting to Lebanon, voices a contrary suspicion: What if bin Laden really intends to bomb Tel Aviv in the hope of provoking Israeli and American retaliation against Iran? (Readers who scoff at the unlikelihood that America, attacked by stateless terrorists, would strike back at a sovereign state are gently reminded of our recent adventures in Iraq.) So far, so chilling. But Chandler turns out to be one more Patterson superhero with a symbolically troubled back story, an ideologically challenging ex-lover and improbably greater gifts for intelligence and survival than the disposable supporting cast.
Patterson (In the Name of Honor,2010, etc.) grabs you with an all-too-plausible fantasy of nuclear Armageddon, but the tension oozes away in the wait for his fictional puppets to hit their preordained marks. Sometimes truth is scarier than fiction.