By Arlene Bridges Samuels, Times of Israel—
My bookshelf is lined with thrillers about good guys catching bad guys. David Baldacci, Daniel Silva and Brad Thor’s books are among them. Author Joel Rosenberg is on the top of my list right along with them. When I shelved his newest book THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN next to his previous 15 novels on my “thriller” row-I felt triumphant. It was easy to imagine I was part of Marcus Ryker’s team in another of his riveting covert operations in two earlier books full of political intrigue and action.
In THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN, Ryker, a skilled CIA operative, is a good guy who tracked down a really bad guy, a leader living in the most contentious real estate acreage in the world, The Temple Mount. I disciplined myself not to read too quickly so that I could savor the descriptive narrative. It was hard not to rush! In the last few chapters Marcus and his team closed in on a deceptively intricate web of terrorists. I literally experienced an adrenaline rush as they uncovered a plot which, if not stopped, would alter the course of nations in the middle east and the United States. I heartily agree with Brad Thor’s endorsement of Rosenberg’s novel as a “a taut, brilliant thriller.”
Although the New York Times best selling author’s newest book will be released on March 17, I’ve already read THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN, thanks to Joel’s generosity. He spoke recently at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference at AIPAC’s Christian Delegate Welcome Dinner on February 29. There, he announced that he was giving us THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN!
I daresay most of us in the packed banquet room of 200 Christians already knew about/read Joel’s books and view him with respect and affection. After he gave an inspiring and fact-filled assessment of Israel and the middle east, laced with his humor, the dinner program also included a sobering update from Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, the outstanding Israel Defense Forces International Spokesman. The minute the excellent program ended, attendees “politely” stampeded the book table stacked with THE JERUSALEM ASSASSIN. The books were wisely hidden under a tablecloth until the right moment!
Joel’s cast of characters include representations of real-world headliners when it comes to the middle east. The geopolitical seismic shifts and conflicts inside and outside governments, dominate the news. Joel utilized his expert knowledge in his superb storytelling. The plot and descriptions made it easy for me to virtually travel from Washington, D.C., to Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, and Russia. I met up with a US President, Secretary of State, and CIA Director, an Israeli Prime Minister, American pastor and his wife, Russian Federation President, Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia’s Monarch, and a Turkish President.
As I read, I pictured myself sitting in on meetings with all of them. Some hot-headedly argued on policy, others deferred quietly to their leader’s wishes. Joel’s portrayals of the five terrorists bent on their assigned assassinations are so convincing that in my mind I wanted to hide from them. Their craftiness, deceit, devotion to Allah, and capacity to playact filled the book with unexpected twists and turns. The hero, Marcus Ryker, endures his PTSD, yet manages to move ahead with his live-or-die assignments. I’m glad Joel included Ryker’s PTSD as a stark reminder of what military and security personnel suffer for the cause of freedom in the United States and Israel. His Christian faith is expertly woven into his struggles with loss and trauma. Continue Reading…..