8/series. Devotees of high-octane international thrillers will probably be familiar with author Alex Berenson', whose debut novel The Faithful Spy became an almost-instant favorite, winning the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Starring CIA undercover agent John Wells. The series has gone from (pardon the cliche) strength to strength, with Wells going through as many personal ups and down as the CIA, for whom he - kind of - works. The Counterfeit Agent begins with a woman picking up contraband A-bomb material. Then we skip to Wells on a Caribbean cruise (!) proposing marriage to his current girlfriend, something I never thought the man would do.
But she turns him down, giving him 30 days to shape up. A call from Ellis Schafer, Wells's old CIA boss, sends him to 1) Guatemala, 2) Thailand 3) Hong Kong and finally 4) Istanbul, where it may be possible that a rogue CIA agent is directing a plot to foment war between America and Iran. The intricacies of the actual plot are beautifully offset by Wells's interior life, his adherence to Islam, his yearning for what most people call an ordinary life. You want spoilers? Not here. Book reviews at Nuts4Books are clean of what-happens-next. Read this series. Read them in order for the full impact. Berenson started as a fine author and has, somehow, only gotten better. This is a 5.