The End of the Affair . . .

theheistnew-149x237For the last year, I have been hopelessly in love with Gabriel Allon.

Who is Gabriel Allon? Plainly put, he is an assassin. He is also an art restorer and Israeli spy. He can be found walking the streets of Venice in his jeans and leather jacket, with piercing green eyes and dark hair slightly graying at the temples, on his way to work on a badly damaged Caravaggio. Or stalking criminals in Marseilles, or Jihadists in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, or Hamas fighters in the back alleys of Jerusalem. He is the creation of Daniel Silva, who has written sixteen novels about the exploits of Allon.

I am always talking about Allon as if he really exists. In fact, I think The Philosopher is tired of hearing about him. I suppose The Philosopher would like to take me one date in which he doesn’t have to hear about Allon’s latest exploit.

book-confessor-lg-149x237 I normally don’t read thrillers, and I hadn’t read a thriller from beginning to end before reading the works of Daniel Silva. I tried to read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but found myself skimming most of it, and then skipping to the final chapter. It just didn’t capture my imagination. My genre is women’s fiction, interrupted by the occasional traditional romance novel. But I heard Silva interviewed on the radio, was looking for something interesting to read, and decided to give The English Girl a try. Silva’s writing is just so good, and he draws you into his world of spies and assassins so that you begin to believe that The Office, the headquarters of the Israel Intelligence Service on the fictional King Saul Boulevard, really exists. After The English Girl, I returned to the earlier Gabriel Allon novels, following his story from the early days of Black September, when he is recruited by Israeli intelligence to assassinate the terrorists responsible for murdering the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. My favorites so far are The Confessor and The Rembrandt

Silva’s latest, The Heist, came out on July 14th. I was one of the loyal readers who downloaded it on my Kindle at the stroke of midnight. The next day, I noticed several readers had beat me to it. There were already four Amazon reviews. Those folks must have read into the wee hours of the morning.

The Heist is about Syria’s ruling family, and Allon’s attempt to take down Assad (whose actual name is never mentioned) and the billions he has stolen from his own people and stashed in Swiss banks and off-shore accounts. Oddly enough, in the middle of my reading of The Heist, real-word conflicts began to heat up. Hamas began pummeling Israel with rockets, and my Facebook friends began arguing bitterly against one side or the other. Then ISIS began its march north through Iraq, destroying Christian villages and beheading children. The headlines flashing across my computer screen each morning bore an eerie resemblance to Silva’s plot. It takes a good year after a book is written for it to go to print, leaving me wondering what crystal ball Silva had sitting on his desk as he wrote the novel. While the occasional violence depicted in Silva’s novels is not overly graphic, the brutality of the Assad regime, coupled with the daily barrage of news stories, left me feeling depressed and hopeless, and questioning the future of the world we are leaving our children.

Like all affairs, this one must come to an end. I am taking a break from Gabriel Allon. After all, he really isn’t available. His beautiful Italian wife, Chiara, is pregnant with twins, and the four of them probably need to be left alone—at least until the next installment in their history is published in about a year.

JenniferJakes_RafesRedemption_200pxAs an antidote to fiction that is too real, I have downloaded Jennifer Jake’s Rafe’s Redemption. I’ve read it before, and it is always great fun. As part of the Hot Damn Designs team, Jennifer did the interior formatting for both the paperback and Kindle versions of my novel The Year After. Her partner Kim Killion created the wonderful cover. In addition to their design work, both Jennifer Jakes and Kim Killion are best-selling romance authors, and I can always count on them for a good yarn.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Adrianne Noel


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