Reviews for Night Ranger

Booklist Reviews 2013 January #1
Four young Americans, volunteers in a Kenyan refugee camp overflowing with Somalis, are kidnapped. Former CIA deep-cover operative John Wells is enjoying life in the New Hampshire woods with his lady, Anne, until his estranged son implores him to go to Africa to rescue the hostages. Reluctantly, for Wells' expertise is the Middle East, the practicing Muslim heads for Africa as pressure mounts on the White House to invade Somalia. Another tragic war hangs on his success or failure. Berenson's Wells novels are reliably entertaining. This one features plenty of action and insightful contextual details about Somalia, the enormous refugee camps, Kenyan and Somali culture, and the violent, Darwinian competition between rival Somali militias. And, as always, there is the shadow of CIA Director Vinnie Duto, pulling strings in the background. This time he's on Wells' side: as the architect of drone warfare, he doesn't want boots on the ground in Somalia. Besides, he's gearing up for a Senate run. Berenson's followers will be pleased with this one. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
A tense thriller that relies equally on bravery, wit and 21st-century American firepower. A group of U.S. workers for WorldCares/ChildrenFirst are in Kenya to help Somali refugees. One day, they are kidnapped and held for ransom. The victims' families hire John Wells, an ex-CIA agent who converted to Islam in a previous novel. Wells is smart, tough and honorable, but none of that stops him from being one hell of a killer. In his first foray into Africa, he coordinates his efforts with the CIA, though not all his government contacts like or trust him. Meanwhile, the frightened hostages must endure rough treatment by captors who have problems of their own. Berenson's thorough research gives the reader vivid images of Somalia, a hostile, ungovernable land where outlaws and hyenas are near the top of the food chain. In one tense scene, a deadly 6-foot-long mamba slithers over Wells. But the drones terrify and fascinate even more, controlled from air-conditioned comfort back in the United States. What can the operator see and do to a distant enemy before returning to his comfortable home? The worst part is that the technology is believable and probably accurate. The novel also prompts but does not pose the question: How many is it acceptable to kill in order to save how few? A cynic might add "how many Africans" and "how few Americans," although the novel has no racial slant. The enemy might be anyone, anywhere in the world, caught in the sights of an airborne Reaper. Setting aside the troubling trends in warfare, though, Berenson gives readers top-notch, fast-paced excitement in a part of the world unfamiliar to many Americans. John Wells (The Faithful Spy, 2006, etc.) is a worthy hero readers can count on. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2

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.)

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