Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Identity Factor - James Houston Turner

With the steep decline of unrealistic spy novels, chronicles of CIA and FBI agents taking down the masterminds of terrorism have filled bookstore shelves. Authors such as Robert Ludlum, Vince Flynn, David Baldacci and Brad Thor have become household names and have quickly replaced Ian Fleming and his creation of James Bond. Well guys, it’s time to make room for one more, and his name is Turner: James Houston Turner.

As if he combined the religious ramifications of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code and the realism of terrorist attacks from Brad Thor’s The First Commandment, James Houston Turner has created a masterpiece in The Identity Factor. The story is based around an archeological artifact that could prove Israel’s uncontested ownership of Palestine…confirmed by Ishmael himself. Because of the tensions of the West Bank, the authentication of the artifact would, no doubt, lead the nations into World War III. This unleashes both friends and foes, including mastermind terrorist, Abu Nazer.

In a twist, un-chartered in many political spy thrillers, a lone female CIA Agent/Analyst ZoĆ« Gustaves allows nothing to stand in her way to hunt down the infamous terrorist, Abu Nazer. Disobeying almost every command given to her by her superiors, the only thing that saves her…career is that she always gets results. The question is, “are the results always good?” Turner takes excellent care of Gustaves by showing her weaknesses while at the same time showing her courage to trudge bravely through her insecurities.

Houston introduces many multi-faceted characters, such as Jackson Teague, the arrogant Deputy CIA Director, which is Gustaves’ boss; Rutherford Tyler, the mysterious yet world renowned journalist with friends from Vice Presidents to Middle Eastern businessmen; Youssef Zakkara, extremely wealthy Egyptian businessman and owner of the artifact in question; Sharifa al Rashid, personal assistant to Mr. Zakkara and deceptive love interest of Rutherford Tyler and many other characters making their appearances to assist in completing the intricate puzzle of the espionage that lurks within the pages. As the characters work with each other while simultaneously working against each other, no one can be trusted and no one seems to be who they say they are.

A thrill ride from the opening page, Turner explores the fast pace of terrorist investigation, split second decisions and unpopular choices being made to uncover the truth and stop the brewing chaos stemming from the existence of the priceless, religious artifact. Just as the cover says, “Seeking answers can be deadly when everyone has secrets.”

James Houston Turner is a great political thriller author and I look forward to the books that follow.