Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 951 Pages
Category: Political Thriller
At a Glance: Political intrigue, suffering, pain and a glorious ending, Whisper has it all and is really one of the best novels of 2018.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: On September 11th, 2001, Kris Caldera was a junior member of the CIA’s Alec Station, the unit dedicated to finding and stopping Osama Bin Laden.
Ten days later, he was on the ground in Afghanistan with a Special Forces team, driven to avenge the ghosts that haunted him and the nation he’d let down. On the battlefield, he meets Special Forces Sergeant David Haddad. David – Arab American, Muslim, and gay – becomes the man Kris loves, the man he lives for, and the man he kills for, through the long years of the raging wars.
David Haddad thought he’d be an outsider his whole life. Too American for the Middle East, too Arab for America, and too gay to be Muslim. It took Kris to bring the parts of himself together, to make him the man he’d always wanted to be. But the War on Terror wreaks havoc on David’s soul, threatening to shatter the fragile peace he’s finally found with Kris.
When a botched mission rips David from Kris’s life, Kris’s world falls into ruin and ash. A shell of the man who once loved with the strength to shake both the CIA and the world, he marks time on the edges of his life. The days bleed together, meaningless after losing the love of his life.
After being captured, tortured to the edge of his life, and left for dead by his comrades, David doesn’t know how much of himself is left. He vanished one day in the tribal belt of Pakistan, and the man who walks out almost a decade later is someone new: Al Dakhil Al-Khorasani.
But strange rumblings are whispering through the CIA. Intelligence from multiple sources overseas points to something new. Something deadly, and moving to strike the United States. Intercepts say an army from Khorasan, the land of the dead where the Apocalypse of Islam will rise, is coming.
And, at the head of this army, a shadowy figure the US hasn’t seen before: Al Dakhil Al-Khorasani.
David is coming home.
Review: Those familiar with Tal Bauer’s Hush will likely remember Mike’s best friend Kris. More than once it’s mentioned that Kris has an interesting past, a man he loved, a husband he has lost, and that story is the basis for Whisper.
Reaching back to the time when Kris first began working for the CIA as an out and proud gay Puerto Rican boy-turned-wicked-smart-analyst, it begins with the bombing of the twin towers and takes us out into the field where Kris meets David Haddad, a special forces medic who is embedded with the CIA team sent to Afghanistan. From there to war torn Iraq, Kris and David join the fight to unearth Osama Bin Laden and unravel the mystery surrounding how the world turned upside down on that ill-fated September 11th. Along the way, David will remember his roots, his Muslim heritage, and Kris will lose his husband in the fight against terrorism.
To attempt to encapsulate a nine-hundred-plus page novel is beyond my scope, but suffice it to say that author Tal Bauer does what he is most brilliant at—deciphering for us the many layers of a time when war, the enemy and espionage all meshed together to create an incredibly intricate story of love, a love that Kris and David share despite the pain it will bring to both of them.
This book is part romance—Kris and David share an epic love, one for the ages, if I can be so over-the-top in expressing the depth of their relationship—and a solid political thriller, because even though many of us remember 9/11, we never really grasped all the layers behind the attacks and the war on terrorism, and how it all played out. Bauer uses real names and places here, and honestly, this sometimes felt like a history lesson without the boring parts. Instead, it was so fast paced and electric that the story had me hooked from the very beginning, and never let up.
But Whisper is also a real study of war, with its pain, its anger, and its hatred. Using David as his marker, the author unpacked a man’s love for the Quran, the idea of rediscovering one’s feelings of nationalism, and how a man can be hated and feared simply because of the color of his skin and his religion. However, lest you worry, this is ultimately a love story—one of trust and faith in another, one of a deep sense of finding the one who completes you, and the incredible pain when one fears that is lost. Political intrigue, suffering, pain and a glorious ending, Whisper has it all and is really one of the best novels of 2018.
You can buy Whisper here:
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