For the sake of not spoiling any of this wonderful thriller, I wish to be as brief as possible. Assault on Saint Agnes counts as Joseph Courtemanche’s first novel and the first in a projected series based on its hero, Bobby Kurtz. As all good thrillers, it is a real page turner. Yet, Courtemanche brings his wealth of life experience in intelligence, police work, and work as an Arabic interpreter onto the table for a truly unique work. (Now, I know what to expect if I’m ever taken into police custody for whatever reason.) All the action is located at the beginning and the end, but the constant suspense in which Courtemanche keeps the reader through paralleling Kurtz’s efforts to foil the terrorists with the terrorists’ progress to D-Day keep the reader hooked. We want to see how an overweight gun enthusiast, retired Navy analyst, devoted Christian, and “polyglot Rambo” will defeat an attempt at the greatest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11.
This book is filled with great stuff, especially from a first time novelist from whom we can expect more and greater works. If I can complain about anything, it would be that his secondary characters are not that colorful. However, we have a great hero in Bobby Kurtz and a great villain in Hassan, the psychopathic ringleader of the jihadist attack in Minnesota. The terrorists strike one as more interesting than the American side characters, but this might be because we know so little about their motives. We know more about patriotic operatives in the CIA than what motivates Islamic terrorists and what their way of life is like. Anyway, if you’re a fan of police, spy, or military fiction, please give Assault on Saint Agnes a try. Read what has delighted hundreds of readers and infuriated members of the intelligence community.