cover image The Deceivers: A John Wells Novel

The Deceivers: A John Wells Novel

Alex Berenson. Putnam, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-399-17616-6

Russia’s attempts to influence U.S. politics reach new extremes in Edgar-winner Berenson’s timely 12th novel featuring wily CIA operative John Wells (after 2017’s The Prisoner). When a massive explosion in Dallas, Tex., kills 398 people, U.S. president Vinny Duto asks Wells to investigate. The Islamic State has claimed credit, but this outrage has aspects that suggest a larger plot. Later, two high-profile evangelical ministers in the Midwest are gunned down by a former U.S. Army sniper, who appears to have been under the spell of a beautiful vixen with ties to Moscow. Wells eventually roots out evidence that Moscow is orchestrating these acts of terror in an attempt to stir nationalist feelings among American voters and encourage the rise of Paul Birman, a right-wing Tennessee senator who’s running for president. After a long initial detour to South America, the plot picks up speed and moves swiftly toward a satisfying finale. As usual, Berenson’s knowledge of geopolitical issues and government intelligence strategies impresses. [em]Author tour. Agent: Bob Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Feb.) [/em]