Monday, November 8, 2010

BookLook Nov. 11 "The Terrorist"

“The Terrorist”
Don’t let the title scare you – wait, government conspiracy novels are a little scary. Peter Steiner writes another thriller for those of us who enjoy the occasional great spy novel. It’s an addiction which began when I read every LeCarre book published. Or maybe it was even earlier when I discovered Agatha Christie in elementary school. Like chocolate, once you’ve tasted a good spy novel you just have to have more.

“The Terrorist” continues to follow Louis Morgan who left the CIA as an accused terrorist. He was innocent but set up by his now deceased former boss in a complicated plot. The file was supposed to be buried deeply in the dusty archives of the CIA but with the increased search power of new computers and a zealous employee, the file is resurrected and another conspiracy begins.

Louis, who now paints quietly in the French countryside, is visited by a CIA official and asked to help find links to al Queda using his former contacts in the Middle East. At first he refuses, but when a young boy is kidnapped Louis knows he must agree to help. Louis suspects he is being manipulated and that once again things will not end well. Using his intelligence, intuition and experience, the retired spy takes control of the game and changes all the rules for an exciting conclusion.

Steiner sketches his characters and countryside so simply and brilliantly, they are unforgettable. Louis is a reluctant hero making life and death choices for himself and others. His recent romance with Pauline brings tenderness and wisdom into his lonely life but he must risk it to reenter the dark and sinister world of spies. The innocent young boy Zaharia gives us a glimpse into the terror of false imprisonment and provides additional tension as we fear Louis will not succeed in time to save him.

Since this is the third Louis Morgan novel, you may want to read “L’Assassin” and “Le Crime” first, but it’s not necessary. The novel is short but satisfying – sometimes you just want one chocolate, not a whole box. If you need a delicious spy novel to read, “The Terrorist” will satisfy your craving at least for a little while.

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