Steve Wenick

Review: ‘The New Girl’

Daniel Silva, #1 New York Times best-selling author’s new novel, “The New Girl” (Harper, July 16, 2019), features the exploits of the Mossad’s operative, Gabriel Allon: full-time spy, occasional assassin and part-time art restorer. Gabriel, the indomitable protagonist in Silva’s nineteenth novel does not disappoint, nor does he and his team of associates grow old.

The International School of Geneva, a well-protected exclusive boarding school in Switzerland, is graced with the enrollment of a mysterious twelve-year-old, new girl. Her provenance is unknown, save by the headmaster of the elites’ private school of choice. Thus, rumors about her personal history run rampant through the halls of the academy of the privileged.

Unbridled speculation surmises that she is the daughter of a wealthy Egyptian businessman – she is not. Reema is the only child of Khalid bin Mohammed, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, once lauded as the potential religious reformer of his country. His precipitous fall from grace came when he was assumed responsible for the murder and dismemberment of a journalist. Parallels and prescience to recent events come as no surprise to devotees of Daniel Silva’s novels; they are expected.

Shrouded in mystery, the new girl, arrives, settles in, and in short order mysteriously disappears; her destination, whereabouts, and fate unknown. The Arab monarch clandestinely recruits a highly unlikely Israeli spy, Gabriel Allon, to track down and safely return his daughter to him.

The quest is on and Silva’s pages are splattered with intrigue and betrayal; his violent visuals are like a head-on collision. Try as you will, they are hard to avoid gaping at. This, his most recent rendition of plot twists of a mystery-thriller, is no exception. Most notably, the author introduces an explosive emotional shock when he unexpectedly and graphically breaks a cardinal taboo of novelists and screenwriters.

As in all Silva’s novels, he shuffles familiar characters in and out of countries and life-threatening situations throughout this page-turning novel. No prerequisite knowledge of his major players is necessary because he recounts their relevant backgrounds, thus bringing the reader up to speed quickly. Prominently featured in this non-stop, globe-trotting spy story are the familiar faces of Sarah Bancroft, the American art curator and onetime CIA operative, and Christopher Keller, a former member of the British Special Air Service turned hired gun. Also, there are cameo appearances by Gabriel’s gorgeous wife Chiara and Ari Shamron, his cantankerous mentor and legendary head-of-bureau. Both are as familiar as family to Silva fans.

I highly recommend “The New Girl” but caution you to have your next reading selection queued up because this one will not be easily put down

About the Author
Since retiring from IBM Steve Wenick has served as a freelance book reviewer for HarperCollins Publishing and Simon & Schuster. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Algemeiner, Jerusalem Online, Philadelphia Inquirer, Attitudes Magazine, and The Jewish Voice of Southern New Jersey. Steve and his wife are residents of Voorhees, New Jersey.
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