Gilbert Cruz
May 19, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Blow the House Down

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Robert Baer
publisher
Crown
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction
We gave it a D+

A decades-long veteran of the CIA pushed out of service after trying to uncover the truth about America, big money, and the Middle East. Sound familiar? Sure it does; it was the George Clooney plotline of last year’s multi-strand film Syriana (inspired by See No Evil, Robert Baer’s 2002 memoir of his time as a CIA operative in the Mideast). In Baer’s first novel — an ”alternative history of 9/11” — Langley spook Max Waller begins to piece together a convoluted puzzle that leads from a mid-1980s kidnapping to the Twin Towers attack. With shockingly underdeveloped characters and a plot that rarely excites, Baer manages to do nothing more than lull the reader to sleep in Blow the House Down.

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