Book Review - The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
Finally, I ended up with a decent recreational read (I had been striking out a bit of late). This spy novel, The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson, was a decent story with a plausible plotline and good pacing.
John Wells is a CIA agent who went undercover to infiltrate Al Qaeda. For a number of years, he's been part of their movement in the countries of Pakistan and such, but his contacts with his state-side handler have been few and far between. The agency has pretty much written him off, as there's been little to show for his effort. But that changes when he comes back to the states under orders from Al Qaeda to be prepared for a large attack. He contacts his handler, Jennifer Exley, but her superiors suspect him of having switched sides. It doesn't help that he's converted to Islam and refuses to come in for a complete debriefing. He has to make the choice between doing things the CIA way (which would likely kill his cover) or to play along with his Al Qaeda leader to discover where the attack is supposed to occur. But by staying out, he's only reinforcing his image of a rouge agent who's gone over. Exley is caught in the middle, wanting to believe that Wells is who he says he is, but also being pushed by her superiors to stop him before he strikes. Either way, the stakes are high, and the wrong decision will leave many dead bodies...
This is Berenson's first novel, and he does a commendable job with it. I wasn't totally engrossed in it, but I did care about what happened to Wells and Exley. It wasn't that hard to believe the different plotlines as they played out, and it left me wondering just how much goes on that we don't know about. For a few hours of entertainment and escape, this book was just about right.