Title: Foreign Agent
Author: Brad Thor
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 14 June 2016
In a safe house near the Syrian border, a clandestine American operations team readies to launch a dramatic mission months in the making. Their target: the director of Social Media for ISIS, Abu Muslim al-Naser.
Multiple analysts, as well as a senior Congresswoman, are in the country to monitor the raid, but before the team can launch, the safe house is attacked.
What unfolds in the bloody aftermath is a political and public relations nightmare. As horrific videos of the Americans are published on the Internet, the blame-storming back in Washington goes into full swing, focusing on how the intel for the raid was developed and how it might have leaked.
As the search for answers mounts, half spy, half covert counterterrorism operative, Scot Harvath quickly finds himself at the center of the storm. Working for a private intelligence agency contracted by both the CIA and the DoD, it was Harvath who pinpointed al-Naser. But how could ISIS have known the Americans were coming, much less where they would be staying? There has to be more to it; something everyone—especially the politicians—is missing.
With the weight of the attack on his shoulders and several powerful members of Congress calling for his head, Harvath is forced to launch his own operation to unravel what went wrong and exact revenge.
But as he nears the truth and the deadly puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, Harvath will uncover another actor—a rogue player hell-bent on forcing America’s hand and drawing it into a plot more dangerous than anyone in Washington could have imagined.
I was glad to see that Brad Thor was going to back to his roots in a way by pitting Harvath against ISIS in Foreign Agent as his last few books had moved away from that theme and although they were still good, I preferred the older ones. Having now read Foreign Agent, I can say that Thor exceeded my lofty expectations and this book is probably my favourite one of Thor’s in quite a while.
Foreign Agent is Brad Thor’s fifteenth thriller novel featuring terrorist hunter Scot Harvath. When a CIA safe house near the Syrian border is ambushed, Scot Harvath feels responsible as he was the one who provided the intel that led to their mission to capture the social media manager of ISIS. Harvath heads to his source to find out where everything went wrong, but finds the man murdered. As Harvath searches for answers, the US Secretary of Defense is murdered by ISIS in Turkey and Harvath finds himself in the middle of a terror plot featuring the US, ISIS and Russia that has the potential to result in all-out war.
Anyone who has read any of Brad Thor’s novels knows what you’re to get. They’re always quick-paced, action-packed and keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Foreign Agent is no exception. It shows yet again that Harvath is a bad ass that you never want to cross and that Brad Thor is a master story teller.
The thing that I like the most about Brad Thor’s writing is that his plots are always really engaging and entertaining but also plausible and realistic as well, as shown by the fact that several of his previous books have “come true”. While I can’t tell whether this plot will come true in the near future as well, it did feel very plausible and I thought it was one of Thor’s better story ideas over the last few years. The idea of double agents and things like that have always interested me so this plot was really intriguing for me.
The most surprising thing for me was that Harvath felt the more human than he did in other books. Not only is he dealing with the terror plot, but he’s also dealing with his personal issues and that made Harvath easier to relate with than usual. I found the character of Sacha Baseyev to be pretty interesting and a good antagonist, but I did feel that the ending of the story was a little abrupt and anti-climactic. The book felt like it was building Baseyev up to be a capable opponent for Harvath but their showdown at the end of the book was a blink and you’ll miss it moment and I would have liked to see it stretch out a little bit more. It felt like quite a big build up and then it was done.
All in all, there’s not much that can be said about Brad Thor and Foreign Agent that hasn’t been said before. It’s everything you expect from the leading man in the spy thriller genre: it’s action-packed, it’s super engaging and it’s relevant to the present time. I honestly feel that Foreign Agent is Brad Thor’s best book in years, which is saying a lot since they’re all great reads, and I can’t wait to see what he does next year.
Worth a read? If you’re a spy thriller fan, then Foreign Agent are absolutely worth a read. Thor shows yet again why he’s the master of spy thrillers with another action-packed thrill ride that keeps you hooked from start to finish.