THE PRIS­ONER by Alex Beren­son, Penguin/Random House.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - LM

The Pris­oner will have you de­fy­ing your droop­ing eye­lids to keep read­ing way too late into the night – it’s a master­class in sto­ry­telling. While for­mer CIA agent John Wells is learn­ing of the ex­is­tence of an agency mole, his off­sider, El­lis Shafer, is watch­ing drone footage of two col­leagues die in the field. The mole, who calls him­self Wayne, is con­fess­ing his doubts and crimes to him­self and plan­ning fur­ther atroc­i­ties. And an Is­lamic State chemist is cook­ing up a batch of the deadly gas, sarin, and ex­per­i­ment­ing on un­for­tu­nate pris­on­ers. As these plots be­come in­ter­wo­ven and the vi­o­lence es­ca­lates, the pages turn them­selves. The cli­max more than pays off, although the end­ing is abrupt, leav­ing you with the sud­den de­fla­tion you feel from the in­er­tia of a brak­ing roller­coaster.

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