Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Lost Codex
OPSIG Team Black #3
Alan Jacobson

Open Road Media
Nov 3, 2015 / ISBN 9781504003636

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


The Lost Codex, by Alan Jacobson, blends realism with a riveting story. Beside enjoying a thriller, readers will gain an understanding of the geo-political climate and the historical significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyone familiar with Jacobson's characters will enjoy the return of the Operations Support Intelligence Group: FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and Aaron Uziel, the FBI Joint Terrorism Chief.

As with the real world, the government leaders appear weak, hesitant, and inept. With events set in Washington DC, New York, Paris, England, and Israel, the Operations Support Intelligence Group must uncover and thwart an international terrorist plot. Their mission is to find the stolen Dead Sea documents and those responsible for unleashing coordinated and unprecedented attacks on US soil.

The author uses his experience writing crime novels to compare terrorists with snipers and organized criminals. Both snipers and the extremists create fear through the unknown of where and when they will strike. A very attention-grabbing quote relates the terrorist organizations to organized crime when a character comments, "The stuff that's brought through food, cement, oil and gas, medical supplies, you name it -- it's all highly taxed with the graft going to their personal bank accounts. In the US we call it organized crime." Readers begin to understand through the newly introduced character, CIA operative Mahmoud El-Fahad, how many Palestinian people are robbed by their leaders, who divert the money to their own bank accounts. Major fund raising is held for the supposed welfare and relief of the Palestinians, yet the money never goes for their benefit.

The Fahad character was created, according to Jacobson, "to present the issues and concerns of the Palestinians. Uzi is the character that explains the Israeli's point of view since he vividly lived the horrors of a terrorist attack after his wife and child were murdered. I hope this created a powerful dynamic."

But an even more telling quote can be taken right from today's headlines where the Palestinians are once again murdering Israelis. Jacobson points out through his characters how "this two-state solution is a political invention, an attempt to compromise, to appease the Palestinians… Even if they're given the West Bank, they will not stop until they have it all. Make no mistake. This is about Israel's survival."

Jacobson stated, "I tried very hard to present a factual case, telling it like it is. We need to remember when talking to extremists, journalists are misled or told false facts. Words do matter, but actions are more important. The question that comes to mind, 'Do people ignore the facts that don't fit their worldview?' I had extensive sources in law enforcement, Middle Eastern Studies, and journalists who felt that it would be hard to negotiate with terrorists because you cannot speak commonsense with them."

Because The Lost Codex was the third book in the spy series, after The Hunted and Hard Target, Jacobson wants to go back to writing a crime novel. Karen Vail will be front and center as she investigates a serial killer, more in the theme of The 7th Victim.

The Lost Codex has a plot that ratchets up the action in a realistic scenario with intriguing characters. Anyone interested in learning more about the Middle East conflict should read this book, with the added bonus of a great storyline.

Reviews of other titles by this author

The Lost Codex OPSIG Team Black #3
Dark Side of the Moon - OPSIG Team Black #4
Inmate 1577 Karen Vail #4
Spectrum Karen Vail #6

Author of the Month 2011

Reviewed 2015