The Jerusalem Assassin (Marcus Ryker #3), by Joel C. Rosenberg

In the stunning continuation of his latest Middle East politics series, Joel C. Rosenberg takes readers deeper into the battle to find peace in the region, as well as the new and intensifying groups that will stop at nothing to derail anything that benefits Israel. Marcus Ryker continues to keep an ear to the ground when it comes to rumblings in the Middle East. He is still forced to watch his back after taking significant action against the Russian leadership not long ago and has been covertly hired by the CIA to help them better understand the new threats against America in the region. When Ryker’s own church is the target of a terrorist attack, he’s shaken and reveals as much to the President of the United States. While compassionate words are exchanged, POTUS is still planning to unveil a major peace initiative for the Middle East on a trip to Jerusalem, in hopes that the Israelis and Palestinians will join him in finally making some headway. Subsequent blasts in DC and the American Embassy in London proves devastating, but POTUS remains focussed on his plan. Meanwhile, hidden away from the eyes of many, an all-out fatwa on both the US president and the Israeli prime minister is offered, with Islamic notoriety sure to follow. A new organisation rises from the ashes where many have failed, sure to take its opponents by storm. Kairos seeks to wrestle control of the Muslim world from those nations who are weak in their opposition to anything anti-Israeli and their latest idea could rock the region and change the balance of power. When the Palestinians scoff at the American peace plan, a new and shocking Islamic replacement in the form of Saudi Arabia emerges as a potential mouthpiece. With the secret summit inching closer, Ryker must ensure that Kairos is not able to strike with their newest weapon, as it will mean disaster for everyone. With intel trickling in, Ryker and his group think that they have the target in their sights, only to learn that nothing is quite as it seems. Is peace in the Middle East a possibility, or will bloody attacks that see a high casualty rate be all the media reports on in the coming days? Rosenberg proves that he is a stellar writer and has a handle on this sub-genre of political thrillers. Recommended to those who love Middle East politics, as well as the reader who desires a high caliber piece with significant research to support fictional claims.

I discovered Joel C. Rosenberg’s writing a number of years ago, finding his depiction of the Middle East situation quite poignant. I suspect I am not the only one, as many have commented on Rosenberg’s uncanny ability to forecast and forebode some of the goings-on in the region, particularly in his first series. Marcus Ryker is the protagonist of this fourth series with similar undertones, though the action has not abated whatsoever. His commitment to his country is fuelled by the fact that he lost a wife and child years ago. His dedication to his personal faith is also something that drives him to seek success, though he seems less likely to inculcate fellow characters than others in past series. Determined not to miss any clue that could work to help America forge a lasting peace, Ryker works tirelessly to make a difference, no matter the cost. The handful of other characters within the book offer wonderful flavouring to the overall plot and narrative, providing different regional perspectives that are essential to better understanding the tensions and the hidden agendas that fuel the animosity on both sides. Rosenberg pulls no punches and is able to educate the reader as they delve deeper into this masterful series. The story was yet again top-notch and offered some unique approaches to the Middle East peace process, while still pushing the thread of Israel being recognised as a regional partner. Rosenberg’s past work in the region shines through in his writing and his use of short chapters pulls the reader in and makes them want to know more as the plot thickens. Another wonderful book in a series that has me on the edge of my seat, I can only wonder where Rosenberg will take things from here. That being said, it’s surely somewhere worth going, though I will have to be patient to see what twists emerge.

Kudos, Mr. Rosenberg, for another wonderful novel. You captivate and speak so frankly while writing in such a way that the entertainment value is never lost on the curious reader.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: