3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Newly-appointed Inspector General Harold Taylor of the CIA has received an important tip: Stephen Rodriguez, the Assistant Deputy Director of Intelligence(ADDI), might be into drug trafficking. And so, for the covert operation of investigating Stephen Rodriguez, Harold recruits his only son Mark Taylor. Mark is former US Special Forces and presently owns a software company. With the help of his lawyer friend Dusty Miller, Mark sets out on a dangerous mission of following Stephen to Afghanistan to collect evidence of his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Exceedingly intriguing and engaging, The Gatekeeper by Donald Peters is about the illegal import of drugs into the United States from Afghanistan. The basis of the book is how people working for organizations like the CIA, FBI, and DEA could be involved in illegal drug trading, despite being expected to be waging war against it. It sheds light on the complex nature of drug trafficking and answers questions like why Afghanistan is the leading producer of heroin in the world, the potential role of corrupt bureaucrats in perpetuating the drug trade in Afghanistan.
The story takes place in the aftermath of 9/11 after the overthrow of the Taliban. The author equips the reader with a brief account of the tumultuous history of Afghanistan in the prologue. Reading the prologue helps the reader to enter into the harsh world of Afghanistan with ease. The author uses the third-person omniscient narrative to tell the story. The book is hard to get through for the first ten chapters, but when you get past it, there is no putting it down. The plot is well-constructed from start to finish, without any unnecessary violence. There are many nail-biting moments in the book that keep you glued until the end.
The characters are well carved out with their background details, no matter how small their role in the story. The protagonist Mark Taylor is pragmatic without being depicted as someone who is godlike, over the top, and has a solution for every problem. He makes mistakes, he cries when it gets too much, and he cares for women, but not in a toxic, controlling way. The primary antagonist Stephen Rodriguez is cunning and ruthless, murdering anyone who threatens to expose the drug network. Even then, he is not above needing love.
Female characters range from being in a position of power, holding an office to working for the FBI handling a gun with ease to the burqa-clad Afghan woman helping our protagonists.
An issue that I have with the book would be the physical description of the characters. Right after the introduction of a character, you are privy to how much they weigh. It doesn’t add to how I view them, and it makes the reading process a little bit tedious.
All things considered, The Gatekeeper is a fantastic book that deserves full stars. However, there are many grammatical errors, so I have to give it 3 out of 4 stars with a heavy heart. There are many instances of non-borderline profanity and the inclusion of sexually explicit details.
I would recommend The Gatekeeper to adult readers who enjoy action-packed books that are full of suspense. People who like reading books on illegal drug trading should not miss this one.
View: on Bookshelves