cover image The Prisoner: A John Wells Novel

The Prisoner: A John Wells Novel

Alex Berenson. Putnam, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-17615-9

Edgar-winner Berenson’s 11th John Wells novel (after 2016’s The Wolves) reinforces his status as one of today’s steadiest practitioners of quality spy fiction. The aging but always-ready Wells comes out of a short-lived retirement in North Conway, N.H., where he lives with his two-year-old daughter, to root out the identity of a top CIA official suspected of handing U.S. secrets to ISIS and other terror networks. On orders from U.S. president Vinny Duto (a former CIA colleague) and his longtime handler of sorts, Ellis Shafer, Wells devises a plan to place himself in a Bulgarian prison that’s largely populated by terrorists. There, Wells begins his undercover campaign to extract information from top jihadists about who the CIA mole may be, as well as any terrorist plots currently in the works. The action culminates smartly with Wells frantically trying to stop a sarin attack in Paris. Wells is an appealing combination of brains and brawn, and Shafer remains an active behind-the-scenes player who knows how to keep an operation on course. [em]Agent: Bob Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Jan.) [/em]