The Intercept - Dick Wolf

The Intercept – Dick Wolf

Four days before the dedication of the new Freedom Tower at ground zero in New York City, five passengers and a flight attendant bravely foil the hijacking of a commercial jet en route to the city. Thrust into the national spotlight, ‘The Six’ become instant celebrities, hailed for their bravery. But iconoclastic New York Police investigator Jeremy Fisk believes there’s more to this than a simple open-and-shut terrorism case. Fisk -from the department’s Intelligence Division – suspects that in reality this is an early warning signal that another potentially more devastating attack is imminent.

Fisk and his team spring into action, but as each promising new lead fizzles to nothing they realise that their opponents are smarter and more dangerous than anyone they’ve faced before. The seemingly invisible enemy is able to exploit every security weakness, anticipating Fisk’s every move. And time is running out until ground zero day…

Many of us have grown up with NBC’s Law & Order on the televisual box in one format or the other; after all it is the longest running drama in television history. We have Dick Wolf – creator – to thank for the long running series; we also have Dick Wolf to thank for his debut action thriller – The Intercept – but can he turn his hand to writing thrillers?

New York City, arguably the biggest and most valuable prize or scalp for terrorist groups around the world, is facing an unknown foe and it’s left to Jeremy Fisk to save the day. Introducing us to a new protagonist, Wolf has created an intellectual leading man in Frisk, a likeable character who isn’t without his problems. If Wolf is to develop this series – given that this is Jeremy Fisk #1 – then I’d like to see a deeper approach to the protagonist, I want him to carry baggage, to have demons, to have faults. I wanted a deeper leading man and although Wolf does a good job with him, in my personal opinion he could have gone deeper. Having said all that, I’d still want to work with him, Fisk that is!

I’ve noticed a number of books lately cashing in on the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and The Intercept is another example. The one thing I did like about Wolf’s use of the former al-Qaeda leader’s hideout was not so much the capture element but the intelligence gathering in Germany following the raid. I liked how he brought the storyline in and then developed it as the book progressed.

“We have failed to innovate.” Bin Laden exclaims following recent failures, the leader determined to make the West pay for their crimes. Unbeknown to Fisk he has a devious plan in place and what ensues is a terrific race against time to foil the extremists. Although Bin Laden appears for a brief moment, an aperitif to the main show, his introduction is a bold move – but it works. Even though a work of fiction my imagination got the better of me and I began wondering just what it was like to live in the famous Abbottabad compound.

That said I do think he could have done so much more with Bin Laden given his immense power and hold he had on millions of people throughout the world following September 2001. There is something missing in the book and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The book is a very fast read and I managed to read the thriller in two – entertaining – short sittings, the narrative has a certain screenwriter appeal to it; in fact I’ll go further and say it reads just like a television screenplay but then given Wolf’s background this certainly won’t come as a surprise to anyone. I for one enjoyed this approach.

We are given short, sharp chapters, plenty of action, a few red herrings and numerous and eclectic characters to satisfy most. I’m not going to go too deep into the plot, but suffice to say I wanted a different ending! I enjoyed how he teased his audience with a well thought out arc, introducing characters to the plot, their backstory and why they did what they did – or didn’t do!

The storyline and plot building is well done and the dialogue is crisp and on point, the book is heavily dependent on dialogue but fortunately this is where Wolf excels. A well-crafted and multi layered thriller, The Intercept shows a great deal of promise both in Wolf’s approach to thriller writing and Fisk as his leading man. More please.

Available to buy in Paperback and Kindle formats.

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (29 Aug 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0751551139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751551136
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