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Targets of Opportunity by Jeffrey S Stephens

Monday, September 5, 2011

In Targets of Deception, which suspense master Robert K. Tanenbaum called “a fast-paced thriller,” Jeffrey Stephens introduced CIA agent Jordan Sandor, whom bestselling author Steve Alten praised as “terrific.” Now Sandor is back, playing for bigger stakes and facing deadlier challenges.
Whisked from his Manhattan town house to a gabled CIA safe house in Virginia, Sandor faces off with a top terrorist agent from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In exchange for protection from his own side, Ahmad Jaber is offering the CIA explosive information: word of a secret, unholy alliance forged among operatives in the Middle East, a ruthless South American, and Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea. Jaber claims not to know specific details, only that the strike will target the heart of America.
The fanatics stage a stunning diversion in the Caribbean, mercilessly downing a passenger jet and unleashing an assault on a French intelligence installation. Sandor, however, has already moved in a different direction. Leveraging Jaber’s infor-mation, he assembles a small strike force to penetrate North Korea. The team knows they will not all return, but the intel they gather will be vital to American security. What they ultimately discover plunges Sandor into a frantic race against time, struggling to defeat a shadowy figure—a master terrorist with a plan of destruction so perfectly disguised that even with the new knowledge he has gathered, Sandor cannot guess where or how he will strike.
As a storm rages in the Gulf of Mexico, word comes that two submarines have penetrated U.S. waters. With the U.S. military hampered by the hurricane, Sandor turns to a few daring U.S. Navy SEALs to duel with the enemy they cannot see . . . for now they know only that there are two nuclear weapons aimed at a target of opportunity whose destruction would change the world order forever.
Brilliantly conceived, electrifyingly paced, Targets of Opportunity captures a terrifying twenty-first century reality: terrorists can—and will—try as many times as they need to attack the United States. For the brave men and women who defend our country, failure is not an option.

Goodreads Summary

This book is packed with action and fits the thriller genre perfectly.  Sandor goes from having a normalish day to squaring off with a top terrorist who has valuable information and is willing to trade for protection.  Sandor has always been quick-witted, it doesn't take him long to figure out a way to make the deal to his benefit.  He elects to send a team to North Korea, it is a high risk situation that will likely result in death, but Sandor knows the situation is far too important to sit back and do nothing. 

The plot gets more complicated as Sandor discovers previously unknown details relating to terrorist strikes.  There is an evil antagonist in this novel, one that remains in the shadows-hidden even from the reader.  Sandor is forced to make tough decisions and think quickly, faster than he ever has before.  The action takes off from there. 

This book is great for thriller, action, and intrigue/mystery enthusiasts.  The book's ultimate plot is "nuclear", so to speak.  The main character, Sandor, is a character who is easy to admire.  He is intelligent, daring, and extremely brave.  The secondary characters are all interesting and the reader will like meeting the majority of them.  The events are super fast-paced and the plot is terrific, the reader will be following Sandor who is on a ticking time bomb mission.  This book is terrific for adults.

5 Stars