Defection Games – Haggai Carmon

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

The CIA and Mossad (Israel’s intelligence agency) engage in a constant battle to thwart Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This is how we meet up again with former Mossad agent, Dan Gordon, as he continues his dangerous undercover work for the CIA to fight the FOE (Forces of Evil) in the fast-paced espionage thriller, Defection Games, the fifth installment in the Dan Gordon series.

In a new joint CIA/Mossad operation, Dan is contracted to assist the defection of key Iranians in turn for valuable information about the country’s nuclear program. However one can never be sure if the potential defector is who he claims to be. Some fake defectors could at least be persuaded to give up the names of “real” players in the nuclear program who might be motivated to defect in exchange for secrets. Then again, Gordon could be set up by VEVAK, the Iranian Secret Service.

Dan is assigned to Dubai, where foreign dealers illegally sell arms and nuclear parts to Iran. Though he is given specific instructions, he doesn’t always follow them. The “little devil” inside of him advises him otherwise. However, he soon realizes that he can no longer rely on his instincts.

After all, as in Triangle of Deception, Gordon can’t tell who has been compromised or contaminated. It could even be his superiors. He can trust no one.

Defection Games is an authentic thriller with so many twists and turns wherever the story takes us – Paris, Istanbul, Damascus and even Tehran. Though author Haggai Carmon successfully constructs an intricate plot, he sufficiently fleshes out the character of Dan as well as those of the supporting players.

The frightening part is that Carmon knows what he’s talking about. For twenty years, he led a double life. An attorney by day, he represented the U.S. government in civil ligation in Israel; but by night he was employed by the U.S. government to go undercover into over thirty countries to gather intelligence on multi-million-dollar white-collar criminals. Though he’s not allowed to divulge his work—which he claims was often more spine-tingling than the best crime thrillers—his fictional Dan Gordon and his life of espionage is the next best thing.

I enjoyed this as much as Triangle of Deception and highly recommend Deception Games to all fans of the spy thriller genre.

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