Publication Date: December 5, 2013
When Journalist Jethro Westhrop (Jet West) is framed for the murder of a woman that he just met, he can’t know how deep the plot goes. As he delves into finding the killer, he discovers a political conspiracy he could not have imagined.
The author, Khaled Talib, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.Smokescreen is a political thriller. An intricate plot is put in place to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister and pin the crime on an average guy. The planning committee (of sorts) is comprised of agents used to living under the edge of society. They are masters of manipulating public perception. The plan Talib lays out for the reader is sinister and savvy. There are shades of the other side of Daniel Silva’s stories throughout Smokescreen.
Jet West is the average arrogant guy with a bit of a douchey bent, writing for a Singapore magazine when we meet him. He’s looking to live fast, play hard and find his way into a few beds during the journey. He’s an observant guy but not necessarily one that over thinks his existence. The first impression is that perhaps he’s a little awesome, but it soon becomes apparent that Jet thinks he’s a bit of a superman. Both readers and character are soon disabused of that notion. The character development from Talib as he travels within a complex dance of plot twists evolves Jet in an organic way. Kickstarting the progress is the loss of Nikki that serves the plotters to create a history of violence for Jet but also alerts him to deeper motives that will swallow him if Jet doesn’t act fast. Through much of the story, he is in the dark, angry and confused, fitting the role of patsy perfectly.
Talib’s settings are vividly detailed. He gives the sense of a familiarity with the areas on the page and a skill for conveying a word picture of those areas. Instead of the elaborate descriptions reading as laborious and dragging the story to a slow ramble, the descriptions read as action. Jet runs through distinct neighborhoods absorbing smells and sounds unique to the exotic island locale. “Smokescreen” is a true international thriller involving many foreign interests and locales that make for an engaging and entertaining tale. Talib’s Smokescreen must have been incredibly complicated to write, but it is a smooth read that is easy to follow. Talib’s skill with settings was reminiscent of Barry Eisler’s fabulous John Rain series.Smokescreen has a large cast of characters and an international setting. It is a complete and wholly satisfying story that leaves the door open for the return of the compelling everyman lead. Bringing current conflicts to the page and providing “behind the big moves” insight is a great idea that former journalist, Talib, executes perfectly.
If you’re a fan of thrillers (especially political thrillers), Smokescreen will be your perfect read. It is the Winner of the 2014 e-thriller.com “Thriller of the Month,” and a story not to be missed. Pick it up today.
Read an excerpt and buy Smokescreen by Khaled Talib on