11.8.13

THE AMATEUR SPY, by Dan Fesperman

Freeman and Mila Lockhart, just-retired, have seen man's brutality up close for decades, as they set up and operate refugee camps and feeding stations in the world's grimmest hot spots. Now, they think, it's time to kick back and relax, find out what normalcy is all about. Enter Black, White and Grey, three tough-as-nails agents who force Freeman into spying on an old aid colleague, Palestinian Omar al-Baroody, now a prosperous Amman entrpreneur trying to set up a hospital in a Jordanian refugee camp. Spying isn't Freeman's game, nor is it Mila's, and soon they have provoked their handlers into chillingly casual retaliation. Is Omar what he appears to be? Why the sudden trip to Athens? Who do the three agents really represent? What's their game? What's anyone's game? And why did Aliyah Rahim, a troubled Palestinian-American woman from Washington DC, come to the camps to talk with Hamas agents? The last few pages tie it all together in a terrorist bomb cliff-hanger. This is a 4+, a good read, a good flavor of Amman and the Arab world of convoluted, ancient hatreds and power struggles. A person could get hooked on Fesperman.