Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Reviews of Peter Thomas Senese's 'The Den of the Assassin'

By Shelley Gammon

Nail-biting Drama and Intrigue

This timely novel brings most of today's headlines into an action-packed drama of intertwining plots involving North Korea's Kim Jung-Il, biological warfare, Muslim terrorists, mercenaries, members of Russia's underbelly, Pakistani nuclear scientists and the brokers & money-movers of Wall Street together a web of why's, how's & whodunits.

Some of the enemies of America's economy and way of life don't fit the usual suspects and they easily slip under the radar of both average citizens and our Department Homeland Security. The linchpin to this international plot is Tyler Boxter, a Wall Street broker who is one of the few good guys who sees beyond the almighty dollar, but who also knows how to turn millions into billions. As he and his partner, former Federal Judge John Morgan, form the building blocks of a multi-billion-dollar empire, they believe they have crossed all "t"s and dotted all "i"s by keeping their plans as close to the vest as possible before the official unveiling. Even their trusted friends, members of the firm they built from the ground-up, have not been included in this scheme which is intended to not only make them all filthy rich, but to also make life better for the common man.

Unknown to them, secret eyes are watching them in the wings, waiting to kill them. Are they just hired mercenaries from some company pushing industrial espionage to the next level, or do these cut-throat terrorists have more sinister plans in which Boxter and Morgan are just stepping stones?

The story takes the reader across the world, literally, as each character travels from one square to another on the global chess board, stitching together a plan to take over the economies of the planet itself, destroying America along the way.

Author Peter Thomas Senese weaves together complex, but believable characters - described both physically and emotionally so you really care what is happening to them. Despite the fact that everything from prostitution to beheadings is touched on, Thomas manages to tell his story without foul language, without grotesque details that give you nightmares and without detailed sex scenes that make you want to bathe after reading. How refreshing!

Just when you think you've figured what is going to happen next, the story twists and turns just like real life - and you don't know what's happening until it's over. Antagonists are hate-worthy and protagonists are not perfect, but heroic nonetheless. Thomas is a gifted writer and can write certain scenes in such a way that you feel like you are in the room with these characters.

My less than perfect rating is for a number of reasons, but I think they all stem from one main problem - this book needed a professional editor to chisel off the rough edges. Some of the economic, trade and health care concepts were way too detailed and over-explained, and made the story less than enjoyable. The concepts are explained, re-explained and then explained again in dialogue that sounds like an infomercial. An editor would have been instrumental in snipping these over-the-top explanations, as well as eliminating the typos. Each chapter has a scene change - citing a date and a time. Some of the time differences are really irrelevant or at least were lost on this reader. Most of these time notations would have been better as "later that evening" or "earlier that morning..." in my opinion. And finally, the over-use of $50-words - words that no one with even an above-average IQ would use in a normal conversation. I had to consult a dictionary so many times, I simply stopped looking the words up because it stopped the natural flow of reading. I love an intelligently-written book such as "Den of the Assassin," but it felt as though the words were thrown in because they were the most intelligent-sounding words found in a thesaurus.

Despite these shortcomings, the book is well-worth the read and enduring the technical jargon regarding the financial markets. Once the story gets going, it is a page-turner. Love, hate, anger, joy, jealousy, loyalty, celebration and grief - the novel takes you through about every emotion and experience you can imagine in a brief 400+ pages and does an excellent job at it. The end of the book sets the reader up for expectations of a second novel. Just like life, things are not tied up in a neat little bow all the time. For his first novel, Thomas truly shines, I am already looking forward to reading his next book. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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By Daniel Jolley

A Thoroughly Engaging, Unpredictable Suspense Thriller

This is one seriously good thriller. Billed as "a novel of international finance and espionage," Den of the Assassin is a super-realistic exploration of frightening possibilities, unsurpassed heroism, Lucifer-like evil, and terrorism of the worst kind. When you look at the cover, which features a shot of the American Stock Exchange captured in the sights of a rifle, you might think this the novel revolves around some kind of Day of the Jackal-like assassination plot, but the complexity of this novel stretches its tendrils deeply into international finance, the vagaries of the American legal and health care systems, international terrorism, diplomacy, intelligence, WMD, and cold-blooded murder - with a little romance thrown in just to stir up the pot a little more. Peter Thomas does a masterful job traversing the inner hallways of diverse institutions as he slowly brings all of these diverse elements together for a slam-bang climax.

The novel is steeped in the new realities of our post-9/11 world, which gives the whole story a visceral prescience teeming with realism and frightful possibility. The focus also provides a warning of sorts, as the greatest danger to America may lie where it is least suspected. The potential dangers inherent in the secret black-market underworld (and the rogues' hall of evil men it does business with) of a still-troubled Russia become a clear and present danger as Den of the Assassin works its way toward its highly suspenseful conclusion.

Tyler Boxter is a young, well-respected investment banker working in the heart of Wall Street. He and his partner, retired judge John Morgan, are days away from finally realizing a dream borne of years of hard and highly secretive work. If eight Special Letter Ruling applications (SLRs) they have submitted amongst several federal agencies are approved, the two partners will thoroughly shake up the financial, insurance, and medical world by revolutionizing (and perhaps even fixing) the health care industry - they will also, in the process, earn almost unimaginable profits for themselves and the company. Tyler has basically staked his wealth and reputation on this plan, and it is a truly risky proposition - if a single one of the SLRs is rejected, the whole plan falls apart. The greatest danger, however, is that someone outside of Tyler's tight circle will find out what is going on and begin putting up legal roadblocks to keep it from happening. Many people stand to lose vast sums in the wake of this revolutionary change, and they will do just about anything to stop the deal dead in its tracks. Tyler knew that going in, but he could never have realized the true dangers he would soon be facing.

Tyler's greatest fear is realized when copies of the SLRs are stolen by unknown thieves. Thinking a competitor is out there trying to circumvent the deal, Tyler and Morgan bring in Judge Ronnie Pitt, a brilliant but disparaged 83-year-old lawyer and Morgan's mentor, and rush to move their timetable up so that they can move as soon as the applications come through (they hope). As things develop, it becomes increasingly clear that Tyler and Morgan have a much bigger problem on their hands than they initially thought, though. For reasons they can't comprehend, their ordeal seems to be linked to an international terrorist operation. Fears of financial failure soon turn to fears for their very lives and those of their friends and loved ones. What makes this terrorist threat so insidious and dangerous is the fact that it does not come from the likely suspects (e.g., al-Qaeda). The real enemy here consists of a criminal, Mafia-type organization of old guard Russian hard-liners led by an untraceable mad genius with designs on destroying America and using her pilfered resources to make Russia the dominant player in the world. The Father, as this mysterious entity is called, needs money - and lots of it - and he will stop at absolutely nothing to get what he wants - including the unleashing of an all-too real "mythical" superplague secretly developed in Russia's biological weapons labs.

Thomas displays a wealth of knowledge of geopolitics, espionage, and international finance, describing all the technical intricacies of the story's elements and implications with great attention to detail -without ever letting the pace get bogged down or become confusing to the reader. He also keeps a number of secrets close to the vest, saving them for just the right time in the story. This serves to make the book thoroughly believable and increasingly suspenseful. There's no shortage of action here. What Tyler finds himself involved in is nothing less than a war, and he must fight to save not only himself, his friends, and his company, but his very country from an unimaginable catastrophe. The Father's network of agents and killers is as formidable as they come, and the security-related forces Tyler brings into the game are some of the best money can buy. In the end, though, the drama becomes deeply personal, as The Father and Tyler Boxter rush headlong toward a face-to-face encounter of epic proportions.

Many a writer of thrillers seem to drop the ball somewhere in the middle of their novels, but Thomas' knowledge of geopolitics, international finance, and 21st century terrorist threats keeps the fires of detailed complexity and story evolution stoked and red-hot for the entire ride. Tyler Boxter is no James Bond, but Den of the Assassin proves to be just as exciting as any 007 caper - and much more realistic. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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By Mark DeLap "Mark"

Blood Gets Us To Heaven... Wisdom Keeps Us Sane In Life's Journey

If you had a chance to view your own funeral... and at that sacred journey's end, you were permitted view the impact you had upon this world, what would you hope to answer? This book has been reviewed as a spy novel, a modern day Wall Steet thriller, a mystery text with a warning for the aching to return to the cold war, a book about Holy Wars, Gihad, and a novel about the ever present threat of bio-terrorism to erase in moments what God created in seven days.

This book by Peter Thomas, which is a pseudonym for Peter Senese, comes on the heels of his novel, Cloning Christ. As that novel portrayed a picture of a sovereign God and a modern day Job - this novel continues that story line and leaves a living legacy to those of us who yearn to live... LIVE in a ravished world with that self same sovereign God.

Oh... don't misunderstand... All of the reviews you read are correct in that they depict the events of the book with great accuracy and passion. In fact, I don't know of another novel that covers as much of the world's gangrenous canker in a little more than an 8 day scenario.

But if all you see when you read this book is the accuracy of, as Peter says... "America in perilous waters...merely the calm before the storm", then certainly you have missed the passion of this author's heart as he leaves behind years of wisdom and truths as a "gospel" to those who need to survive in this world that we live in.

Peter Senese lost his faith and found God in New York in September of 2001. What he leaves us in this book are accurate world facts that point to continued terrorism... and he also leaves us a trail of breadcrumbs that will take us past the "ground zeros" of our life to the door where the bread of life can be found.

The author calls his New York haven... "Manhattan's grandest house of God" - but if you look at the back cover of his book, you will see that this grandest house pales in comparison to the skyscrapers of this financial hub. Nevertheless... the twin towers are gone... Trinity stands... through the revolutionary war... through the civil war... through world wars... and through the war on terrorism... She still stands.

Want to know how to stand after you've done all to stand? Then I implore you to read this book for the passion and the message that is standing small but mighty amongst this world's systems and monuments.

Want to know how to impact your world after it's all said and done? Read this love letter that Peter Thomas Senese wrote to his son.... and if you can't see a love letter within it's pages... then take the few steps from ground zero to Trinity and know that most certainly there is a road less traveled - where miracles still happen.

"Fate does not fall on man however they act, but falls on man unless they act." just one breadcrumb... it tastes so good, you can't eat just one...

Thank you Peter!!! From a father who needs to leave something of worth behind for my own son... thank you. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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By Elizabeth McGregor

Extremely Well Crafted, Thoughtful, and Hightly Entertaining

'The Den of the Assassin' is one of the most provocative books I have read in years. It is clear and evident that the Russian Black-Market is alive and well, and, it has found its way to the world of capitalism. Author Peter Thomas Senese does an outstanding job of using historical facts to web a unique modern day story that appears to be in every present headline dealing with the world of terrorism and threats to the free world. But there is something really special here above the foresight and intelligently written modern day thriller: Peter Thomas Senese's story is accessable to all readers, as there is a cleverly, though fast paced love story that evolves nicely and importantly through the whirlwind action that takes the reader aroud the globe in as a deadly game is played between Tyler Boxter, the story's protagonist, and Vladamir Stockow, the madman who controls an arsenal of biological weapons rooted from the former Soviet Union's Bioprepreate.

Make no mistake, there is a great deal of fascinating information presented by Thomas in 'The Den of the Assassin'. It is significant, but not overwhelming, and easily understandable. What is amazing is how the author hits his mark on all points: character development keeps you rolling, a plot line that doesn't stop, and too, is fascinating, the use of settings as characters themselves was done wonderfully, especially in New York City, and most of all, the presentation of the common journey all individuals face in finding their way, the way Tyler Boxter needed to, was flawless

I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about this book. Two days from start to finish, Thomas has a lot to say . . . and if you haven't noticed, Iran is building nuclear facilities based upon information obtained from the former Soviet Union and the current Black Market that still exists after it's fall. My only question is how in the world did the author know so much? If you love LeCarre, Clancy, Turow, Patterson, or the deceased Ludlum's work, you will be amazed with Peter Thomas Senese's novel 'The Den of the Assassin'.

By Barry Roth

The Most Realistic International Thriller I Have Ever Read

In 'The Den of the Assassin' author Peter Thomas Senese has written what I beleive to be the most realistic international thriller I have ever read. The story is a riveting expose of current and very real terrorist threats to the Free World, and how these threats use democracy's capitalistic structure to finance and develop there networks. But the electric pulse that captures the reader is not reduced by Thomas' use of . . . amazingly true but little mentioned and news covered facts . . . such as the fact that a handful of biochemist working on an Ebola-oriented vaccine were murdered . . . or the fact that the CIA did in fact create an extraordinary world-wide, multi-language computer monitoring system capable of monitoring all money movement worldwide . . . including and not limited to the unimaginable events of 911 and how the US government knew of large discrepancies in the various trading of entities that would be beneficial to individuals making a hedge to profit from the misdeeds.

From New York, to Narau, to Moscow, to North Korea, to Iraq, to places unknown, the reader enters onto an amazingly colorful journey of nations and intents; however, Thomas' masterful handling of the story's protagonist: The Father Stockow is so brilliant that he is everywhere, and always, somehow on Wall Street - where the unsuspecting banker Tyler Boxter is essentially a deer looking into the headlights.

Boxter's evolution is brilliant: as Thomas transforms the lost lamb into a predatorial shark . . . hunting for the one person who can destroy the world. In a page-turning writing style that hits you over the head with critically important fact after fact at a level that you actually want more information and facts, Senese's character development of all his characters is defining.

Which leads me to say this: Den of the Assassin is a brilliant novel worthy of the highest praise possible. That said, I want to add that there is great meaning in this story, something bouyed by the love story that prevails with Julia Marcardo and Tyler Boxter. As for Boxter, and the movement that is set in this story by the main character I want to list some words that come to mind: redemption, hope, faith, determination, addiction, love, fear, surrender, love.

Great job.

By Dave Rumereo

One To Relish On

Let me begin by stating that my review is based specifically on the story and not issues of the art of editing, for which I am not an expert in. I am, however, a lover of books, especially well thought out fiction, and in DEN OF THE ASSASSIN, Peter Thomas Senese has written one of the best modern-day thrillers I have read.

In DEN OF THE ASSASSIN I found myself reading one of the most intricately structured and detailed plot lines I have ever read, brilliantly executed that my eyes kept racing from page to page. Starting in Russia, Thomas soon brings you to New York City, where the action of this thriller is laid out perfectly: on Wall Street. And this is where Thomas shines most - clearly he knows the pulse of this place in the physical and metaphysical sense, bringing the reader into the frenetic canyons of capitalism, and the world of finance's connectivity to the worlds of terrorism. In the thematic of Wall Street's connection to the concerns of global terrorism, Thomas' point is current, informative, sensitive to detail, and interesting.

Evolving around the thematic of global terrorism we are introduced to Tyler Boxter, a somewhat typical Wall Streeter with an interesting, but not overwhelming past. He's a guy with issues, but who's not with them? As a provocative game of death is being laid out, we are introduced to an array of characters, some deliberately fanciful, others meticulously sterile. All with purpose, the characters in this story drive the action around the world, and to the finality of a very clever, unexpected ending.

If you are a fan of thrillers, I think readers will really find this book to be a great read. Personally, I am a fan of James Patterson, Patricia Cornwall, Nelson DeMille, David Baldacci, Jon Kellerman, Michael Connelly, and of course, Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. In DEN OF THE ASSASSIN I believe we have found a writer who, if showing consistency, may have the ability of joining these wonderfully gifted writers as mainstream writers of note.