by Peter Steiner
St. Martin's, 2010. 224 pgs. Fiction.
Louis Morgon, aged 71 and recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, is approached by his former employers, the CIA, to reconnect with some of his former Middle Eastern contacts. Trouble is, Morgon was driven out of the CIA by an envious superior, cleverly discredited, and even accused of terrorism. He says no. Pressure is exerted when the son of a close friend is arrested for no reason and sent out of the States to prison in a country which has neither compunctions nor laws against torture. Between bouts of chemotherapy-induced illness and weakness, Louis meets with Abu Massad, gets a name, tracks down an al-Qaeda sleeper who does not believe in the movement anymore, and through a series of brilliant moves . . . . Well, you'll want to read that for yourself. Louis is an engaging character--introspective, having a piercing intelligence, loyal and determined. His newly-met friend Pauline is as well a treasure--a perceptive, sensitive, and deeply compassionate person. The Terrorist is a short read, but fulfilling in character, setting, and story.