Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva (♦♦♦♦)

Gabriel is enjoying retirement with Chiara in Cornwall, England. A trip to London for a new painting commission and some R&R takes a wrong turn when two apparently coordinated terrorist attacks take place in two of Europe’s most prominent capitals. During a walk with Chiara in Covent Garden, London, Gabriel spots a possible suicide terrorist—the third of the day—but is prevented by Met police from shooting the suspect. The bomb goes off.

Suddenly Gabriel is swept back to a world he thought he had left behind. To gain some needed equity with the current American administration, Gabriel agrees with Adrian Carter and the president to chase the men responsible for the recent wave of terrorist attacks and execute them. Gabriel brings his old team of Israeli operatives on board.

Gabriel’s team knows a few things before hand. There’s an American born cleric with tenuous links to two of the 9/11 hijackers, who was once a CIA asset and has gone rogue. His “beautiful and seductive tongue” has allowed him to recruit a network of jihadists.

Through research the team learns that the mastermind behind the attacks is a Jordanian extremist “who cut his teeth in Iraq”. There’s a much needed infusion of capital to bring that network to its knees, but whom to trust? Ari Shamron suggests a reclusive heiress “with impeccable jihadists credentials”, linked to Gabriel by blood. She agrees to the task, but in bringing down these men, her life and Gabriel’s will be in danger.

This book is as good as the last two, which I have read, namely The Rembrandt Affair and The Defector. While The Defector is a pure adrenaline rush, this one feels very subdued. In this story, Gabriel’s guilt comes knocking hard; this is the most emotional Gabriel to date, and I’m warming up to him. I also like the dynamics of Gabriel and Shamron’s relationship; the latter doesn’t have to speak to be understood. I’ve said before that the greatest strength of this series is the fine, almost invisible line that exists between fact and fiction; that’s what I like the most. In a quasi non-fictional manner, Daniel Silva exposes the dark secrets of the Arab world.