Putnam, August 2004, 24.95, 272 pp.
Dr. Louis Finney has not been in the game for over two decades, ever since he saw the results of his mentor Dr. Arthur Noble's research on people who were treated as expendable mentally ill human beings. Their research was instrumental in creating the techniques used today to get a spy to open up their minds and spill their secrets without breaking them entirely.
Unexpectedly, Noble calls on Finney to observe the techniques that are being used on Ali Zattout, a terrorist in the Al Qaeda organization. Noble is rushed to the hospital leaving Finney to be the only watcher to judge the effectiveness of the techniques. There is a mole in the unit that the prisoner is in and when he is killed, Dr. Finney takes over the interrogation. Louis has more to worry about than breaking one terrorist for Al Qaeda is worried about the secrets he could reveal. They send over an assassin who systematically kills everyone in the prison's terrorist cell before he makes a daring move on the command center where Zattout is held.
The prose is stark and gritty reflecting the claustrophobic cell in the compound. The actions takes place on two levels: the authorities try to run the assassin to ground while the doctors need to break the subject mentally so he can spill their secrets.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner