Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review - The Watchman of Ephraim

Cris De Niro worked his way up to the top of the hedge fund world. Yet, all of his money couldn't protect him from losing his wife on 9/11. 10 years passed since the tragedy. De Niro and his sons relocated to a sprawling ranch near Las Vegas. Turning to his faith to overcome his anguish, De Niro now lives for a higher purpose. From a biblical passage, he reads about the "Watchman of Ephraim," a defender who kept watch over the land. De Niro decides to acquire a lackluster counter-terrorism agency in order to transform it into a modern-day version of The Watchman for the United States but there's not a moment to lose.

Aref Sami Zamani is planning a terrorist attack on American soil - codenamed "Antioch," a plot to detonate a nuke over the city of Las Vegas. The Watchman uncovers a connection between Zamani and a Mexican drug cartel but their agent goes missing before they can learn more. That's because Zamani has a spy working for The Watchman. Strange events start to unfold near the Nogales border crossing. References are discovered to something the Mexicans are calling "Noche Del Espantada" ...Fright Night," but can it mean something else?

September 11, 2011 and the sun hasn't risen yet in Las Vegas or Nogales. Antioch is in motion! At the border, Noche Del Espantada has begun and there are intruders at De Niro's ranch. De Niro has to protect his sons and someone new in his life, Dr. Moriah Stevens. She too, lost her spouse on 9/11. Moriah finds herself in love with De Niro but his devotion to his wife is proving too powerful for him, even after 10 years. It's the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil and unless De Niro and his new team are successful, the day will be known as "The 2nd 9/11."


My review:

This is a debut novel that is written as if he has been a published author for a number of years. If you didn't know, you wouldn't be able to guess either. This is one of the best political suspense thrillers I have read in a while.

The first couple of chapters are hard to read as someone that distinctly remembers 9/11 and knew people both in NYC and DC on the day of the attack. But after those intro chapters, which really are necessary to the story. The rest of the story takes place 10 years later. You follow Cris as he moves his family to Las Vegas and starts on a new mission for his life. To keep Americans safe for something like 9/11 ever happening again. A tough calling but he has the funds and the friends to put together a top notch team. Shortly after assembling his team they are faced with trouble. There is another attack planned for the 10th anniversary.

The story moves at an almost nonstop pace. And you have to keep reading in order to find out what happens next. The characters are real. They are believable and you can easily imagine that there are people out there who are civilians but are dedicated to keeping another terrorist attack from happening.

I only had a few little problems with the book. One is that while the author does a good job of identifying terms and phrases that ordinary civilian might not know in the footnotes, early on in the story he misses a few that you know involve military or technology terms and practices but you really dont know what they are or do. Also when Cris is setting up his new company, it seems to be a bit rushed to get to the action. When you go in to meet the new team you are introduced so fast that later when they reappear you have to go back to see what role they have again. And lastly, during the climax when people are being killed. It just seems hard to believe that no one in all the locations these are taking place notices if they are not part of the story. And while I admit I am sure that with knowing the right people and knowing the situation that is going on and that it was basically a matter of national security that it is likely they would not be punished. It just seemed to me that it needed a bit of "official" explanation, even if it is just what goes on behind closed doors that the normal civilian would never hear about. For me that would have provided a little more closer to the story.

I am really glad this is a series. And I am really looking forward to the next book coming out soon. This is one writer you do not want to pass up, especially if you are a thriller fan.

Note: Sorry for the lack of graphics the past couple of posts. Blogger is not cooperating on uploading images. I hope it works again soon.

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