15755279Reviewed by A.D. Cole

What’s a New York cop, whose name isn’t John McClane, doing at the center of an international terrorist plot? Turns out that, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, New York decided to take matters of national security into its own hands by forming the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department…it’s own, mini-CIA. Therein operates Jeremy Fisk, hero of Dick Wolf’s debut novel and first in the Jeremy Fisk series, The Intercept.

The Intelligence Community is lukewarm, at best, in welcoming Fisk into its ranks. But at the novel’s outset, he quickly validates the existence of NYPD’s Intel Division. When a terrorist slips past the FBI’s surveillance, Fisk immediately declares the situation NYPD jurisdiction and brings the bad guy to a dramatic and decisive end.

Two years later, following the Bin-Laden takedown, a would-be terrorist claiming to have a bomb attempts to hijack SAS Flight 903 flying from Sweden into Newark. Six brave civilians attack and thwart the terrorist, foiling his plot and making national heroes of themselves in the process. Jeremy Fisk, along with his partner and lover Krina Gersten, go to interview the attacker, who has already had his dose of truth serum and spilled his guts to the FBI. The ease with which the terrorist is broken is Fisk’s first cause for concern. And after speaking with the six heroes, as the dust starts to settle, Fisk becomes increasingly convinced that this “lone-wolf” attacker isn’t alone after all.

“The Six,” as the heroes are referred to in the media, are immediately swept up in a storm of public relations and televised media events. They swiftly rise to the status of icons. Symbols of America’s never ending fight for freedom. Symbols almost as powerful as the One World Trade Center tower which is set to be dedicated two days from now, following New York’s grand Fourth of July Celebration. An event, in Fisk’s view, just tailor-made for an ambitious terrorist looking to strike a blow into the heart of America. Because the most important thing Fisk has learned about Bin-laden following his death, is that the goal of the next attack won’t be body count, but emotional impact.

Meanwhile, Intel Division is looking for another passenger from Flight 903, Baada Bin-Hezam. All Fisk has to go on is profiling–Bin-Hezam is Muslim–and the fact that Bin-Hezam has vanished. It’s little more than a hunch, yet Fisk manages to convince his superiors to let him quietly track the guy. But the chase ends up revealing more questions than answers. Was the foiled hijacking just a diversion? Why is Bin-Hezam so easy to track? What is the real target for the plot that Fisk is uncovering piece by piece? Once the chase begins, the story twists and turns, building momentum toward an explosive ending that will forever change Fisk personally and professionally.

The writing is crisp. The story is tight, with brief scenes that propel the plot forward toward a very satisfying ending. I know Fisk well enough to want to read more about him in the future. I found the most unique quality of the novel to be the fact that it occurs out of an Intelligence Division in the NYPD. I wasn’t sure, initially, how well this would play. But after the first chapter, the division had been totally validated and justified in my mind, and Fisk presented as a totally competent and awesome protagonist. I think we’ll see more spy novels using New York cops as their heroes after this.

It was also interesting to see a spy novel explore the idea that ideology-based terrorism is spreading beyond ethnic boundaries. How effective can profiling be, if this is the case? And how much more frightening is it when you can’t recognize your enemy by the color of his skin? When your enemy has become invisible? For me, this novel opened the door to those ideas and I look forward to reading more from Dick Wolf.

Bottom line, I recommend this book to fellow thriller readers. It was awesome and I couldn’t put it down.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

A.D. Cole is a homeschooling mother and aspiring romance novelist. She lives in the Ozark foothills and spends her free time reading, writing, baking and pondering life’s little mysteries.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.