Monday, March 11, 2013

Countdown to Jihad, by Jeff Westmont

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Countdown to Jihad courtesy of the author, via GoodReads First Reads.

This CIA vs. terrorist thriller contains a real gem of an action story. The problem is, the plot doesn't truly get off the blocks until about one-third of the way into the book. Readers who hang on this far, however, are in for a wild ride, as CIA agent David and his allies pursue a dangerous bomber in a wild chase through the final pages.

David is an intriguingly complex character, whose history and family background complicate his work and lend him compassion for his enemies. His relationship with Iranian agent Parissa is sweet, if somewhat predictable. What is unpredictable is the plot-twist at the end, which perhaps could have been better set up.

Fans of traditional spy thrillers such as John leCarre's Smiley novels, who enjoy character development and don't mind slowly emerging backstory, will enjoy the similarly-themed Countdown to Jihad.

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