The Con Man of Lagos by Francesca Salerno #Review
Posted by brriske
The Con Man of Lagos, a Novel of Espionage, is a taut Boko Haram/al-Qaeda thriller set in Nigeria, Africa’s wealthiest nation. The narrative centers on terrorist efforts to steal the weapons aboard a Russian nuclear submarine, the Dmitriy Donskoy, that has gone missing in Nigerian waters offshore Lagos. The sub is thought by some tohave exploded, for mysterious reasons unknown, in the Atlantic’s equatorial waters.
In this compelling and suspenseful CIA fiction, Boko Haram operatives in oil-rich Bonny Island manipulate barge owners — who have been enlisted by the Russian Navy to help salvage nuclear weapons belonging to the missing sub — into helping them organize diving efforts to steal the bombs. Al-Qaeda’s plan is to change the balance of power worldwide by taking possession, for the first time in human history, of nuclear weapons.
Kate Langley, the attractive, young, and ambitious CIA officer we met earlier in The Pakistan Conspiracy, also by Francesca Salerno, has been promoted to CIA Chief of Station at the American Embassy in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. While discreetly investigating — with the help of her friend Mahmood Mahmood, who has recently been appointed Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Nigeria — the efforts to steal the Russian nukes, she becomes aware of a more immediately dangerous secondary effort to divert attention to Lagos by staging a horrific mass explosion there, in a densely populated part of the huge city. As Kate and Mahmood dig deeper, they learn that this would be a terrorist incident so horrible that it might be regarded as he equivalent for Africa of the Twin Towers event in America. Loss of life would be catastrophic. This disaster must be averted.
The Lagos criminals, in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, hope to shift focus of law enforcement officers temporarily from the Russian sub site to a heavily populated Nigerian city where hundreds of children, women, and men, all innocent civilians, can be targeted for death. Kate puts her life on the line to prevent the al-Qaeda and Boko Haram terrorists from pulling off this horrific event. Meanwhile, the Russian atomic weapons are still at risk deep in the ocean, unguarded and as yet unsalvaged from the sea bottom.
This espionage thriller opens in the tension-fraught days of March, 2012, right after a Russian nuclear submarine on a routine mission in the Atlantic disappears mysteriously about one hundred miles offshore Lagos, Nigeria’s major port city. Kate Langley has just arrived from CIA headquarters in Virginia to start her new job as top CIA official in Nigeria.
The Con Man of Lagos is a compelling nuclear espionage thriller as contemporary as tomorrow’s headlines and as frightening as our own fears of nuclear terror. It is as taut and gripping as any of the best CIA spy thrillers on the market today.
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As an independent reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock, I easily give this four hearts for great characters and slow-building suspense. I will be recommending it to my friends who do like this genre!