John Wells, bestselling author Alex Berenson’s fantastic protagonist, returns to star in his tenth novel to date. The Wolves, a direct sequel to Twelve Days, is an impressive thriller that grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go.
While I definitely recommend reading Twelve Days first, it’s not completely necessary to understanding the plot in this book. Berenson writes enough back story to fill the reader in on past events, sort of like an intro to a mid-season episode of 24. Just, ya know, without Kiefer Sutherland’s voice saying “previously on …”
Even if this is your first John Wells novel, you’ll be okay. They are all fantastic reads, but The Wolves is easily one of the top three best books in the series.
The Wolves picks up about a day from where the last book ended, opening with ex-CIA operative John Wells patiently waiting in a Virginia hospital emergency room to have his broken foot, an injury he sustained during the events of Twelve Days, fixed.
While sitting in the waiting room, Wells’ phone vibrates, alerting him to a call. He’s less than thrilled to learn the president wants to have a meeting with him, especially considering that Ellis Shafer, Wells’ close friend and director of the CIA, is still sitting in a jail cell for his actions – the very actions that helped stop a world war just twenty-four hours ago.
The problem is that while Wells was able to stop a sinister plot to trigger a world war, the perpetrator was never captured. The president wants John to let the authorities bring the bad guy, billionaire Aaron Duberman, down “the right way.” Which means through the authorities and justice system, and not with a bullet to the head.
Of course, there’s more to it than just that. The president himself has egg on his face due to his relationship with Duberman, and he had essentially just lied to the American people about several previous events. None of that sat well with John Wells, but the two did eventually hammer out an agreement, and Shafer was released from jail.
The deal is pretty simple. Wells and Shafer can expose the president at any time, should they choose to do so. In exchange for a small list of demands, they agreed to stay out of the way, let the authorities do their job, and relax.
Wells takes the downtime to let his foot heal up, reconnect with his son, and strengthen his faith. Unlike any other leading protagonists in the genre, John Wells is a devout and practicing Muslim. That, more than anything, makes the character unique and different from other leading men like Mitch Rapp, Scot Harvath, Gabriel Allon and Alex Hawke.
Duberman, meanwhile, who tried to trick America into going to war with Iran before Wells ruined his plan, has decided that he’s not safe with John alive. He wants Wells dead, and the sooner the better. Wells, for his part, eventually decides that the president has had enough time to make good on their agreement. With his energy refocused, Wells sets his sights on Duberman.
In the ultimate game of “last man standing,” John Wells goes after Dubeman – laying it all on the line. Who will come out of this battle alive?
Thrown in on top of that are the Russians, the Chinese, a backstory centered on the casino industry, and plenty of political elements – which will absolutely make readers think about who backs, or buys, political candidates. The Wolves is a page-turning thriller that is a ton of fun to read.
Why I loved It
I enjoy Berneson’s writing. He’s a truly phenomenal talent, and does so many things well that other authors can’t seem to figure out. For example, Vince Flynn became known for his easy-to-hate bad guys. Bernson, on the other hand, humanizes his villains to the point where they are borderline likable. This makes the reader have to think about their own actions a bit more, as the antagonists often seem like decent people who just get caught up doing bad things.
I also enjoy John Well’s sarcastic attitude and nonchalant demeanor. Well, nonchalant until he’s pissed off, then he’s one of the last guys on the planet you’d want to lock horns with!
Why You Should Read It
Where Twelve Hours was all about John Wells racing against the clock, The Wolves is a story about revenge, which I usually find to be a great emotion to build the plot of a thriller novel around.
Berenson is one of the genre’s best authors, and John Wells is one of the few must-read leading men in an action franchise. Picking up a copy of The Wolves should be a no-brainer, I simply couldn’t put this book down. It’s the perfect follow-up to Twelve Days, and I can’t wait to see what Alex Berenson has up his sleeve next!
Author: Alex Berenson
Pages: 400 (hardcover)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 9, 2016. (Order it now!)