A Book Spy Review: ‘Traitor’ by Jonathan de Shalit

Traitor.jpgIn the early 1980s, Alon, a young Israeli walking the streets of Rome, entered an American embassy. Believing that within the next two decades he’d be in a position to obtain critical intelligence, Alon offered to become an informant for the United States.

It’s a bold, brave move. . . but there’s one major problem with Alon’s plan, something outside of his control. The man Alon met with, John Roberts, is actually a mole for East Germany. 

As he climbs the career ladder, providing the U.S. with information every step of the way, Alon is actually keeping the Germans in the know, inadvertently, of course, through Roberts —  not the United States.

Things take a heart-pounding turn when the Mossad learns a traitor among their own ranks is working with East Germany, prompting the Israeli president to authorize the Mossad’s former chief to do whatever it takes to flush out the mole, code-named “Cobra.” As a team of spies begins their hunt, Alon must figure out how to stay a step ahead of them long enough to go after the man who has betrayed him for nearly three decades — setting up an electrifying final act that pits traitor vs. traitor.

It’s a game between spies, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. 

While many readers will note the similarities to Daniel Silva, the truth is that Jonathan de Shalit — a pseudonym used by the author who is a former high-ranking member of the Israeli Intelligence Community — actually has more in common with Silva’s character, Gabriel Allon. If Silva’s beloved character (a Mossad agent turned chief of Israel’s spy agency) ever wrote a thriller, it’d look a whole lot like Traitor. 

The story itself is more of a slow burn in the vein of Jason Matthews and Charles Cuming, rather than the balls-to-the-wall action that fans of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor are used to. Much like how Tom Cruise’s character never fires a weapon in the first Mission: Impossible movie, Traitor is still a nerve-wracking espionage thriller, but without all the heavy action sequences. Instead, a premium is placed on characters and intellect, making this a thinking man’s book, but with enough thrills to keep readers engaged throughout.

Written with stunning authenticity from someone who knows what they’re talking about, Jonathan de Shalit’s Traitor is a smart, thought-provoking, rising crescendo of suspense that hits all the right notes from start to finish. Don’t miss one of 2018’s hottest debuts! 

Book Details

Author: Jonathan de Shalit
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501170481
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.


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