cover image The Shadow Patrol

The Shadow Patrol

Alex Berenson. Putnam, $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15829-2

Edgar-winner Berenson’s compelling sixth spy thriller starring ex-CIA operative John Wells (after 2011’s The Secret Soldier) highlights an unsavory aspect of the Afghanistan war: U.S. soldiers who engage in drug smuggling while fighting the Taliban. The chief bad guy, Delta sniper Daniel Francesca, kills Taliban fighters and does away with any Americans who may be onto his drug-smuggling activities. The sniper, who’s on his third tour in Afghanistan, has clearly gone over the line when it comes to morality or sanity. Francesca not only knows that Wells, who’s come to Kabul to ferret out a mole in the capital’s CIA station, is on his trail but relishes the battle. It’s this riveting duel between good and evil that will keep readers blazing through the pages, while several other more mundane plot lines get lost in the background. This consistently interesting series shows no signs of running out of steam. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Feb.)