The Last Man in Tehran: A Novel
The Last Man in Tehran, the fourth book in Mark Henshaw’s Red Cell series, deals with the tricky relationship between the CIA, FBI, and Mossad. Red Cell is an analytical unit within the CIA. Created shortly after 9/11, the unit’s job is to analyze all the signals other analytical teams within the CIA have missed. The book opens up in 1979, when Iranian students stormed the American embassy and took its personnel hostage. During the commotion, a Mossad officer, Gavi Ronen, meets with his counterpart from Iran’s SAVAK. The two spies discuss current events and then depart. Fast forward to the present day, and a dirty bomb is detonated in the Israeli port city of Haifa. Israeli intelligence services immediately suspect the Iranians. Soon afterwards, the CIA discovers that somebody in the Agency is secretly helping Israel’s act of revenge. Soon the FBI is brought in to flush out the mole. The book’s protagonists, Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, must work together to find the mole while preserving the delicate relationship between the United States and Israel.
The Last Man in Tehran is a quintessential spy novel. The author, himself a CIA analyst with the real-life Red Cell, brings a degree of authenticity no other author can. The plot is fast-paced and very believable, and the dirty bomb attack on Haifa is actually based on a war game Henshaw ran for the CIA. The characters are very well developed and believable as well, and it’s easy for the reader to commiserate with them.