If you’re looking for a good read when hot weather keeps you cooped up in the house, pick up “The Triple Agent” by Joby Warrick (Doubleday; $26.95).
Warrick recounts a terrorist coup: the 2009 suicide bombing at a U.S. base in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed five CIA officers, a Jordanian intelligence officer and two U.S. security contractors for what formerly was Blackwater Worldwide. It’s a story of outrage, jihadist posing, earnest service by Americans at a dangerous station abroad and overlooked (and sometimes unheeded) warnings of potential trouble.
But, Warrick offers more than that. He digs into the people behind the story, including the CIA base chief who was killed in the blast, the unlikely alliance between another of the CIA officers and the Jordanian officer (both of whom also died) and the suicide bomber, a well-educated Palestinian doctor. These and others characters are drawn as far more than stereotypes; on one hand, each is seen as a selfless worker in a greater cause, on the other as humans with the usual servings of faults or shortcomings.
Memories of the attack have faded like those of so many other deadly blasts in the long war. Warrick, a reporter for The Washington Post, brings the attack back into sharp focus in an eminently readable narrative.
Look for a fuller review of “The Triple Agent” in the Aug. 7 edition of the Telegram.
Ross Chandler is Life editor for the Rocky Mount Telegram.