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The Last Refuge
Dewey Andreas Series, No 3
Ben Coes

St. Martin's Press
July 3, 2012 / ISBN 978-1250007155
Political Thriller/Mystery

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Ben Coes in his latest novel, The Last Refuge, explores the relationship between Israel and the US in an action-packed story. This plot is very realistic with captivating characters and continued suspense. It allows the reader to consider the possible events that follow from Iran producing a nuclear weapon.

The plot takes off from the very beginning of the book. After Israeli Special Forces commander Kohl Meir is captured by Iranian operatives, his former US Delta Ranger buddy, Dewey Andreas, plans a daring rescue. While planning the operation Andreas discovers that an Iranian informant was in contact with Meir, showing him photos of Iran's nuclear bomb.

Coes commented, "I went to Israel to do research for the book. I talked with a former member of the Knesset, Ophir Paz, a former deputy ambassador to America, Zvi Rafieh, and a former Mossad agent. Hopefully, this book strikes at the vein of truth regarding current events. I wanted to write about our relationship with Israel and the very real threat of Iran. The book shows the tactics for going inside Iran that are based on reality. I wanted to make this book authentic."

Part of the way he achieved this is through the characters. Those who know anything about Israeli history will enjoy two characters whose names are very familiar, Kohl Meir and General Menachem Dayan. Coes noted, "They are fictitious but I wanted to bring in a part of Israel's heritage. I wrote Meir to be the great grandson of Golda Meir, the first female Prime Minister and a key part of Israel's history. Dayan's name was borrowed from General Moshe Dayan who I wanted to pay homage since he was one of the military leaders who helped build Israel's modern defense force."

In this novel he further explores the personality of his main character, a former Ranger, Dewey Andreas. In the first book of the series, Power Down, Dewey reconciles with America to fight Islamic terrorists after having been falsely accused of murder. In the second book, Coup D'Etat, he is asked by the US Government to help overthrow an extremist Islamic regime in Pakistan. In this book, The Last Refuge, he had Dewey desiring to once again be a patriotic American who wants to fight for his country.

The other main character, Jessica Tanzer, is the national security advisor and Dewey's love interest. Instead of strictly following the rules she starts to stand up for what she believes, and puts the rules of engagement as secondary to her beliefs. She is tough and highly intelligent, constantly challenging the current policies.

Another important character is an Iranian minister, Lon Qassou, who turns into an Israeli informant, playing a critical role in stopping Iran from producing a nuclear bomb. He used this character to show that there are Iranians who do not hate Israel or the US. Other important sub characters are Kathy Foxx and Rob Tabumu who are former Special Forces and intelligence officials that have started a private firm and hire out to help with national security.

He also represents the Iranian Mullahs as being very cruel to show "the gasoline in the Iranian engine is that they want to stay in power. They are meaner, more sadistic, and more murderous than the Shah ever was. They have a cancer of intolerance. What is done to the Iranian UN Ambassador in the book was to symbolically show how offended I am that we let people come into this country who make statements against us and our way of life. We let them come in and hang out in New York City. Hopefully, this represents my disdain for the UN."

He gave a heads up about his next book, Year of the Scorpion, centered in China. For a reason he would not delve into because it would give away the plot, the Chinese are hunting Dewey down. To force America to turn him over they use the debt the US owes them. Jessica, Kathy, and Rob are also returning characters. Sometime in the near future he hopes to have spin-off books involving the characters of Kohl Meir or Teddy Marks.

The Last Refuge is a fast-paced book that the reader will not want to put down. It is an intense story that is riveting and eye opening to what will happen if Iran is allowed to obtain a nuclear bomb.

Power Down
, No 1
Coup d' Etat, No 2
The Last Refuge, No 3

Reviewed 2012