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Monday, 21 January 2013
‘The Panther’ by Nelson Demille
FBI agents John Corey and his wife Kate are assigned to Yemen to track down a high ranking Al Quaeda operative who is thought to be the mastermind behind several deaths, including the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen several years before. The terrorist operates under the title “the Panther” and John and Kate are ostensibly sent out to hunt and capture him, but John knows that this is only a front for an assassination operation.
He and his wife set forth, though it is felt under slight duress on his part as he has been to the Yemen before and knows that it will not be an easy job. The sensitive political issues within the country mean that John and Kate don’t even know who their enemies are and even their friends (the CIA for example) can be dangerous. Finding out who is on their side proves the challenge and John, well versed in the forked tongues of international conspiracy, is constantly questioning who to trust.
There is intrigue, double dealing, bangs and crashes and a little bit of romance and humour in the narrative which serves the storyline well.
This book is over 600 pages long and whilst it is full of details about the Middle Eastern conflict, which could have been more lightly covered, it is not slow or in any way a chore to read. The characters (especially that of John Corey, whose inner monologue is mostly entertaining if occasionally overdone) are quite nicely drawn in the writing and even the terrorists are not as two dimensional as is regularly the case for a thriller of this type.
Blockbuster in size, but more intelligent in depth and storyline than is normal for this genre, this is a storming read and quite exhausting. The narrative picks up pace in the last quarter and gallops towards a satisfying but still nicely open ending. A good read, but, this is a heavy tome to carry around.
Reviewer: Amanda Brown