4 out of 4 stars
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"In our world today there are groups of armed men and women who have chosen for whatever reason, religious or political, to sow terror among the rest of the population," so begins the dedication of The Date Farm, by Jack Winnick. Though the fourth book in the Lara and Uri series is fiction, Winnick notes that the plot "has strong ties to historical events...that are happening more and more often in the real world." In this stand-alone international thriller, Winnick keeps readers on the edge of their seats, while shining a light on the heroic individuals who risk their lives to stop terrorism.
FBI agent Lara Edmond and her husband, Mossad agent Uri Levin, are summoned from their relaxing vacation on Lara's family farm in Ohio, after a brutal assault on a Beverly Hills shopping mall, kills over a hundred people. The plot thickens with the revelation that the security of the communication networks and satellites of both the Department of Defense and Homeland Security have been breached, followed by a subsequent attack on the Federal Reserve and the Chase Manhattan Banks. Are the attacks related, and is the group after gold or something even more precious?
I found this suspenseful page-turner hard to put down; there is literally never a dull moment in the fast-paced, realistic plot which could easily be a current event. The book is well-written and professionally edited. The complex plot alternates between the activities of the agents, the federal agencies behind the scenes, and the terrorist group. Likewise, the locations of those involved include Los Angeles, New York City, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, Idaho Falls, Tehran, Bandar, Sierra Leone, and Kazerun, the location of the date farm and cover for the electronic base of the terrorist group.
I most liked the book's well-developed cast of characters, particularly Uri and Lara, who are newly married and also work together. As Mossad and FBI agents, respectively, their work just so happens to involve fighting terrorists. The author did an excellent job of portraying their devotion to each other, as well as their loyalty to the agencies and countries they serve. I also found it refreshing that both of their characters lacked the typical bravado often displayed by agents in international thrillers. Uri and Lara are skilled agents who don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone. In Lara's case, it was her expertise and actions that won over those initially doubting her ability, as a woman working the assigned mission.
Having not read the previous books in the series, I was pleased to see that the fourth book stands on its own. Winnick seamlessly intertwines occasional references to past missions within the plot. Based on my enjoyment of this action-packed suspense, I would gladly read other books from the series. In fact, I can't think of a single thing I disliked about the book. Therefore, I'm pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy international thrillers.
The Date Farm
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