Review: Alex Berenson’s The Night Ranger

Until now, Alex Berenson’s John Wells series was one of diminishing returns. After an amazing debut in The Faithful Spy, the thriller in which we were introduced to the CIA operative that nearly went too deep in his undercover role with the Taliban, and a good sophomore outing, there’s been little to write about.

Fortunately, The Night Ranger is Berenson’s best book in years. It’s a straightforward novel in which Wells goes to Africa to search for kidnapped volunteer workers. No, Wells still hasn’t returned to the CIA. He’s propelled into the story by his estranged son, who he can’t say no to. And it’s a good thing he doesn’t – Wells’ opponent, a warlord named “Wizard,” is the series’ best protagonist to date. He’s simply dripping with personality. the night ranger John Wells Book - The Night Ranger

Here’s the synopsis:

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-bestselling 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.

 

Bella Wright

Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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