I recently read People of the Veil by Andrew Warren. Warren is a CIA officer accused of date rape I blogged about yesterday. Understandably, I didn’t stumble on the book just by chance, but bought it specifically because I was curious what a book by an alleged CIA rapist would look like.
The plot is that during an Islamist uprising in Algeria some terrorists attack the US embassy in Algiers, and the embassy personnel are only saved by Nick Phillips, the daring consul. After evading the bad guys and delivering the embassy’s staff to waiting choppers, Phillips goes back to save his Algerian girlfriend, who he reaches in the nick of time.
The book comprises two sections. The first concerns the build up to the attack on the embassy, where the characters are set out and plans laid. The dialogue is fairly leaden, albeit not quite as bad as Dan Brown, but the characters are as black-and-white as they come and you would search for a redeeming defect in vain. However, Warren does at least try to address the potential plot hole that the GIA was completely penetrated by government moles by basing the uprising on an alliance between Islamist radicals and tribal elements angry at the government at being moved off their land. On the other hand, the novel is set in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and bin Laden does not get a mention until over half-way through. You would really have thought 9/11 would be more on the mind of the people at the embassy there. You would also wonder why there were no CIA officers at the embassy.
The second part is better, and you can enjoy the wooden characters machine-gunning each other while Warren keeps the pace reasonably high. The best bit is the ending, where one of the people you are sure is not going to get killed in the final battle gets shot.
Other than that, the book’s most enjoyable feature is its interesting selection of typos and crap phrasing:
As he crossed the embassy compound, he was always taken aback by the size and beauty of the embassy compound.
The EAP provided for procedures in a crisis situation with each foreseeable contingencies.
He should know and just say that he going there.
Nick want to avoid that scenario in Algiers.
Too many people were afraid of being caught in the crossfire between the terrorists and the government forces, least of all Bassam.
We must be poised to take advantage of this situation not matter what the cost.
And that’s just in the first half, but you get the picture. It’s what you get for going to an author mill like Publish America.
I’d say don’t bother reading it, but I guess nobody was planning on doing that anyway.