Friday, June 08, 2007

"An Accidental American" by Alex Carr

Nicole Blake just wants to live her life in solitude. Her faithful dog and her in a cottage in France seem like the perfect way to do it, but soon her past is coming back to her and in full force. In this novel of mystery, intrigue and espionage, Alex Carr weaves a tale that takes you in directions you may not be expecting.

Nicole has served some prison time for her career of choice, forgery. With a con-man American father it is the expected life for her. But Nicole has relationships with people that have made her life a little more exciting. Her former lover Rahim Ali another expert forger is now a suspected terrorist and the CIA wants him. To get him they recruit Nicole. She hasn't seen him since before being sent to prison but she takes the "job" more out of curiousity and the surprise that he could even be a terrorist.

I will warn you at this point in the story I was worried that it was going to turn into a spy/love story. But the twists and turns that author Alex Carr weaves into the story through flashback sequences the book soon becomes a book you can't put down until finished. Even when finished I had to go back and re-read some chapters...out of intrigue.

The setting of the book is just before the recent war in Iraq and jumps back and forth from the Beirut bombing in 1982 and the Gulf War of the early '90s. With the history of the region and the superb characterizations the novel becomes a very believable story. In the back of the book there is an author's note on the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut, and if you are not familiar with the history of the region it is good to read this before reading the book. However the history is well told in the book so that it is incorporated in the story so the reader actually learns a little about history while reading some great action.

Another aspect unleashed in the story is the roaming around in the city of Lisbon. There are times where the book almost seems like a Dan Brown novel, in that you want to grab a map and trace the character's steps through the town. In fact the Author has included a city map of Lisbon and Beirut in the beginning of the book.

So grab this book, sit back and be prepared for an exciting ride in counter-terrorism and CIA double-crossing. I will warn you that the first 2 or 3 chapters build the story and may seem a little too much to get through but once in Lisbon the action never stops.

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