Cover image of "The Deceivers" by Alex Berenson, a John Wells spy novel

Is a new Cold War underway between the United States and Russia? Certainly, the signs are emerging. The two countries are at loggerheads in Ukraine and Syria, and the Russian response to deepening US sanctions has seemed increasingly desperate. Russian efforts to upend the 2016 presidential election may be on today’s front pages, but it’s only one aspect of the broadening if still nonviolent conflict. In his new John Wells thriller, The Deceivers, Alex Berenson imagines Russia crossing the threshold into violence.

Former Army Ranger John Wells has retired from the CIA. He lives in rural New Hampshire with a local cop named Anne and their three-year-old daughter, Emma. But when Vinny Duto, his old nemesis, sends word for him to meet him in the White House, he has little choice but to leave his pregnant wife and young daughter. The former CIA Director is now President. Nobody says no to the President, especially this President.

Wells is expecting an assignment connected to a horrific recent attack in Dallas, where 400 people were murdered by a small group of Islamic terrorists outside a basketball arena. But Vinny wants him to travel to Bogota, Colombia, to meet a man who claims to have critically important information about some unspecified matter. Puzzled, Wells heads off southward, beginning a frustrating and dangerous journey to meet the man.

The Deceivers (John Wells #12) by Alex Berenson (2018) 447 pages ★★★★☆

Wells’ investigation eventually leads him to Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City (now self-styled CDMX), Dallas, southeastern Washington State, and eventually back to Washington, DC, and home to New Hampshire. It’s a whirlwind adventure in high style, and another captivating thriller from Alex Berenson. Along the way, you’ll encounter a convincing portrait of Vladimir Putin in the guise of Russian President Sergei Fedin.

Alex Berenson worked for the New York Times for more than a decade, covering the occupation of Iraq and the pharmaceutical industry as an investigative reporter. He has been writing full-time since 2010. The Deceivers is the 12th novel in his bestselling John Wells series. Berenson has also written three works of nonfiction.

For links to my reviews of all the John Wells novels, see The 12 novels of Alex Berenson’s thrilling John Wells spy series.

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