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'Foreign Agent': Thor masters art of suspense in latest thriller

The thriller genre featuring anti-terrorism protagonists is a packed literary scene these days with Brad Thor right there at the top of the heap.

Thor made provocative news recently while promoting “Foreign Agent” (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 335 pages) his newest novel starring Scot Harvath, a former Navy Seal turned larger-than-life terrorist fighter. Appearing on Glenn Beck’s satellite radio show, Thor wondered aloud how an unrestrained President Donald Trump could be stopped if he provoked an “extinction-level event.” If Congress couldn’t do it, “what patriot will step up and do that,” Thor said.

Beck was temporarily suspended by SiriusXM from its Patriot Channel for that comment, which was construed to endorse violence against Trump.

In another appearance with Beck, Thor intimated he’d run for president on a third-party ticket if he could get to 15 percent in the polls. “With the radio show, you can get me to 15 percent? If you can get me to 15 percent, I’ll run,” Thor said.

So, there’s all that.

Meanwhile, “Foreign Agent” is another fantastic thriller pulled right from today’s headlines involving a Russian-led plot to entice the Americans into an all-out assault on ISIS to ensure that Russia gets to keep its strategic interests in Syria.

There’s nothing particularly fancy about Thor’s prose. It’s straightforward expository driven forward by some occasionally crackling dialog and a masterful sense of suspense. Thor has developed some interesting characters in this 16-book series, but this one is pretty much a stand-alone vehicle for Harvath on foreign soil. One of the bad guys, by the way, is a pompous senator from Iowa plotting nefarious acts back in Washington, D.C. The other is a Russian agent pulling off diabolical deeds that include the killing of the U.S. Secretary of Defense and an attack on the White House.

Weaved in among the intrigue is a personal dilemma for Harvath involving his latest romantic interest and whether he’s fully capable of a full-time relationship given his globe-trotting, evil-fighting ways.

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There’s a similar formula to Thor’s work; indeed, that of this thriller genre in general. But if you like it, you lap it up as it’s published.

And I like it. A lot.

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