The Devil's Light
Richard North Patterson
Scribner, May 3 2011, $26.00
Al Qaeda key terrorist leader, Al Zaroor plans destruction for 9/11/11 that will make the original 9/11 appears like a minor event. He needs a nuclear device, but Al Zaroor knows nuclear bombs left stationary are protected but those moved for purposes of the regional cold war with India is accessible for stealing. He arranges for an incident to heat up the always simmering conflict between Pakistan and India, and has a bomb hijacked while in transit.
Bin Laden announces to the world his team has the bomb and will use it on an American city to commemorate the tenth anniversary. While Pakistan denies the loss of a WMD, the CIA, HSD, and DOD take the terrorist at his word and try to protect America. However, CIA field operative Brooke Chandler thinks it is a hoax as he believes the target is Tel Aviv with the goal being America (and the Israelis) reacting like it did to 9/11/01 by attacking a nation; this time Iran. Chandler fails to sell his argument so he lines up his retired former boss Carter Grey to prevent 9/11 all over again.
This tense thriller makes a powerful plausible argument that history repeats the same mistakes, but worsened by stronger weapons. The gripping story line is at its best with the set up of the brilliant credible terrorist plot that extrapolates from the real world such as America’s ports not very secure. The tension is somewhat deflated when the plot turns to the two Americans trying to thwart the scheme as that follows a pre-ordained path though exciting. Still this poignant tale grips the reader from story to finish with a reasonable premise of what Al Qaeda plans to celebrate their greatest triumph.