Radiant Angel, the fast-paced 7th book in the John Corey series by Nelson DeMille, was yet another book I could not put down. If you enjoy adventure and intrigue, your will love Radiant Angel. After taking down the Yemeni terrorist who called himself The Panther (the 6th book in the series) Corey has left the Anti-Terrorist Task Force (ATTF). Back at home in New York, he has taken a job with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group (DSG) where his job is to keep tabs on Russian diplomats. As usual, Corey is a bit of a cowboy, and as usual, his suspicions are correct. What begins as a boring day quickly turns into another life and death situation. In this case he saves New York City from becoming the next Chernobyl.
In following Viktor Petrov, a Russian diplomat who is actually the equivalent of a CIA station chief, to what appears to be a party, Corey discovers a plot so evil it is truly chilling. Petrov is using a young playboy Saudi prince as a pawn in orchestrating a plot to vaporize Manhattan and make it appear that Saudi Arabia was behind the attack.
As with many books of this genre, the opinions of the author come through in the in the dialogue of the characters. Corey is convinced that Washington bureaucrats are so obsessed with Muslim terrorists, they are overlooking equally real threats from Russia, and the likelihood that we could be about to enter a new Cold War. DeMille makes a strong case against compartmented information between the FBI, CIA, NSA, the military, and other government agencies, and demonstrates the inefficiency as the various agencies involved withhold information that could have stopped the attack much sooner. Corey commented that, “if the police operated like that, they’d never make an arrest”.
The book criticizes the weakness of seaport security compared to airport security, while simultaneously acknowledging the greater difficulty in preventing small boats from slipping through certain waters. DeMille also points out problems with enhanced interrogation by giving the example of one character who may have told Corey what he wanted to hear in order to stay alive.
Radiant Angel forces the reader to recognize the potential threat coming from Russia, particularly in light of recent events on the part of Putin and the Russian military. I can’t help but wonder if DeMille has predicted a new Cold War in the way that Tom Clancy predicted the disappearance of Gorbachev.