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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Audible Book Review: The Watchman of Ephraim

This is a solid, engaging thriller.  I especially recommend it to readers who enjoy counter-terrorism, action novels. 
The Watchman of Ephraim: Cris De Niro, Book 1 | [Gerard de Marigny]

Available in Print and Kindle
Genre:  Thriller 
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Cris De Niro worked his way up to the top of the hedge fund world. Yet, all of his money couldn't protect him from losing his wife on 9/11. Ten years passed since the tragedy. De Niro and his sons relocated to a sprawling ranch near Las Vegas. Turning to his faith to overcome his anguish, De Niro now lives for a higher purpose. From a biblical passage, he reads about the "Watchman of Ephraim", a defender who kept watch over the land. De Niro decides to acquire a lackluster counter-terrorism agency in order to transform it into a modern-day version of The Watchman for the United States but there's not a moment to lose.

Aref Sami Zamani is planning a terrorist attack on American soil - codenamed "Antioch", a plot to detonate a nuke over the city of Las Vegas. The Watchman uncovers a connection between Zamani and a Mexican drug cartel but their agent goes missing before they can learn more. That's because Zamani has a spy working for The Watchman.

Strange events start to unfold near the Nogales border crossing. References are discovered to something the Mexicans are calling "Noche Del Espantada" ...Fright Night", but can it mean something else?

September 11, 2011 and the sun hasn't risen yet in Las Vegas or Nogales. Antioch is in motion! At the border, Noche Del Espantada has begun and there are intruders at De Niro's ranch. De Niro has to protect his sons and someone new in his life, Dr. Moriah Stevens. She too, lost her spouse on 9/11. Moriah finds herself in love with De Niro but his devotion to his wife is proving too powerful for him, even after 10 years.

 It's the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil and unless De Niro and his new team are successful, the day will be known as "The 2nd 9/11".

In 2001 Cris De Niro is a wealthy man with a beautiful wife and young sons to raise.  Then terror and tragedy struck.  On 9/11 Cris realizes his wife is trapped in one of the Twin Tower buildings.  He has already been injured himself but he struggles to climb the stairs to reach her. When he would drop to the stairs and allow himself to die a firefighter steps in and makes him think of his young sons.  He chooses to live and raise his sons in a godly fashion as his wife would want.

Ten years later Cris and his sons are living on a massive ranch compound near Las Vegas.  There he has built a hidden, underground bunker to help in the fight against terrorism.  Cris has  purchased a counter- terrorism company and is determined to establish it as a Watchman against terrorism.  He brings along his brother-in-law, Richard, a tough ex–marine, to head the security details.  As they develop a strong team they uncover rumors of a terrorist attack and go into action to stop the threat.

There is conspiracy and betrayal to face. Even though the recruited expert operatives are well trained the agency is scrambling to prepare for the battle with little confirmed information. It is soon clear that someone is leaking the team assignments, undermining the defense and putting lives in danger. Stumbling a step behind the terrorists, it may take more than skill alone to stop another 9-11 attack.  I particularly enjoyed the plot with its conspiracy and greedy traitor creating more danger. There is plenty of action and excitement.

I liked several of the characters created by Mr. de Marigny.  De Niro is strong, reclusive, quiet and clearly  dedicated to his sons and his vow to fight terrorism.  Other characters are the silent but tough military characters.  I liked the good mix of action and emotional drama. The possible development of a love interest with Dr. Moriah Stevens, a 9/11 widow, is only a small part of the story. The relationship is awkward mostly because De Niro isn’t ready to move on from the love he lost.

The narrator does a good job trying to include different accents for the polished Cris, the tough brother-in-law, Richard, and the foreign terrorists. Mr. Alexander delivers a steady pace on the reading with a good balance of intensity to convey emotion and action.  I had no distractions with the narration.

The plot has twists to keep you actively moving forward. There is an underlying strength or foundation of faith without any direct preaching.  I would be glad to read/listen to more of these stories for the strong action plot.  I recommend this book to readers who like counter terrorism action.
Audiobook Jukebox

I received the Audible version of this book for review from JarRyJorNo Publishing through Audiobook Jukebox.

I am choosing the setting near Las Vegas, Nevada for my Where are You Reading challenge. I will also add it to my New Author and Audio challenge lists.

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