cover image The Night Ranger

The Night Ranger

Alex Berenson. Putnam, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-399-15972-5

The chaos of East Africa and the complex realities of relief efforts in that region form the backdrop for Edgar-winner Berenson’s gripping seventh thriller featuring ex-CIA agent John Wells (after 2012’s The Shadow Patrol). Wells’s estranged son, Evan, who views his father as “a professional vigilante at best, a war criminal at worst,” calls for help after 23-year-old aid worker Gwen Murphy, a friend’s sister, is kidnapped in Kenya. Murphy, who had been working in a refugee camp, was abducted with three colleagues, including the nephew of James Thompson, head of WorldCares/ChildrenFirst, the NGO running the refugee camp. Wells, who agrees to do what he can, taps an ally in the Company for assistance. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, has infiltrated the refugee camps across the border where WorldCares is operating. Taut prose, plausible action, and plenty of plot surprises ensure another winner for this perennial bestseller. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Feb.)