Former CIA operative Robert Bayer's first novel tells the story of what could have happened in 9/11 and what might have changed if officials listened to Max Waller.
Waller had been a CIA officer for ages. He still has a vivid recollection of 1984 when Bill Buckley, the CIA chief of Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped and decapitated.
The time moves to June 21, 2001. Max is given a comfortable job at Langley, keeping track of other agents prior to their retirement.
Max is bothered by a photo he discovers in which Osama bin Laden is next to a Western looking person whose head was cut out of the photo. There is also another Arab in the photo, holding a weapon. When Max shows the photo to a friend, the man takes the photo with him and winds up dead. Then, people begin to follow Max.
When Max evades his followers, he's pulled in and questioned. His bosses wonder why his photo is on the photo and with other trumped up charges, he is given administrative leave.
He remains undaunted and calls a number of contacts from his past. Action continues with Max trying to find answers as he is being followed and most officials in the CIA freeze him out as a has been.
The idea of the book was excellent but I felt that Max was an unlikable character with too big an ego. The action is delivered in waves with some drama surrounded by back up material such as official messages. I felt that this excessive use of technical details was overdone and took away from the suspense.
Given that this was a debut novel, I would read another novel by this author because the material is there to catch my attention. With the shady world of espionage, the complicated puzzles and international scenarios, I feel that fans of John le Carre would enjoy this novel.