The Assistant: A Novel

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9780684842615: The Assistant: A Novel

A novel set in Washington, D.C., the Middle East, and Paris follows the Israeli Mossad as it recruits American Jews to act as double agents, using stolen American intelligence to weaken their Arab foes.

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Review:

The Jonathan Pollard case, in which an American-born Jew was convicted of spying for Israel, is a subtle but omnipresent theme in this suspenseful novel of Arab-Israeli-American relations. The conventional ingredients are here: terrorism, counter-terrorism, the explosive nature of Middle Eastern politics, and the threatened assassination of a high-level world leader in the midst of peace negotiations. In The Assistant, Law adds a less predictable element: the sayanim, or assistants, American Jews who support the Israeli government and its intelligence service, the Mossad, in its struggle to stay a step ahead of its Arab enemies.

One of these is Sid Poltarek, a successful Washington lawyer whose death after a suspicious encounter with an Arab physicist in Paris may not be what the Washington police tell Sid's son Ben it is--a simple case of hit-and-run. When a badly injured stranger makes his way to Ben's apartment and dies at his feet after whispering the cryptic words, "Tell Landau they're bringing in an American," Ben is slow to realize that the message was meant for his father, of whose sayanim background he was completely unaware. But it's not a surprise to Ben's lover, Rachel, who knows exactly who Sid was and who Landau is--one of the Mossad's top agents, a man with whom she has a long and troubled history.

Law keeps things interesting with a few extra plot turns: a foreign hit team trying to protect the planned crime by rubbing out anyone who might be able to stop it; a dirty cop who's been taking money from Arab intelligence interests; an American archaeologist married to a high-ranking Arab peacemaker murdered with their son in an ill-fated bombing attack for which both U.S. and Israel must suffer; and Jamal, Landau's enemy and the chief Arab terrorist, who plans to kidnap the president's daughter and hold her hostage unless the U.S. announces its total support of the Palestinian position in the peace talks. It adds up to a fast-paced debut thriller that devotees of cloak-and-daggers will appreciate; fans of Gerald Seymour, in particular, take note. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

J. Patrick Law is an international business and government consultant. He now lives in Hawaii.

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Published by Simon & Schuster (2000)
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