My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alex Berenson’s The Wolves (Putman and Sons 2016) is IMO the best yet in the John Wells’ series. It’s fast moving, clever, with a bias for meaningful action driven by John Wells. This story is the sequel to the unfinished trauma/drama started in ‘Twelve Days’ where Wells barely stops a world war, but doesn’t capture the man responsible. Any John Wells fan knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with averting global disaster if the perpetrator remained free. Wells strikes a deal with America’s President to stand back, let America find and capture the man. He uses the time to restore his inner spirituality, especially his Muslim religion, and rebuild his relationship with his high school-age son. But when Wells decides time’s up, the action never stops.
I like that Berenson takes considerable time to share the positive side of the story’s antagonist–Duberman. Thanks to several scenes about his background, he comes across as anyone who has made bad choices but not because they’re bad people. I actually started to like him–respect him–considering him misguided rather than misanthropic.
Until I didn’t.
The fundamental difference between this series and any number of other flawed-but-superhuman characters is that John Wells is devoutly Muslim. I don’t know any fictional government agents who are Muslim. Like L. J. Sellers‘ sociopathic FBI agent Andra Bailey (link not available until March), Wells stands alone. Through him, I see the peace and serenity he draws from this much-maligned religion.
Overall, this is a thinking read with lots more to it than killing the enemy. For John Wells, his brain is as big a weapon as his multitude of guns. By the way, if you’re considering buying this, read 12 Days first.
More action hero stories:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.