Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

If you're reading THE INTERROGATOR and you happen to have noticed that the author, JJ Cooper, has a bio that mentions he spent 17 years in the Australian Army, specialising in Human Intelligence including interrogation (as a practitioner and an instructor), you really cannot help but consider the possibilities of truth in fiction.  Clinging to the belief that the truth was used when describing the techniques and technicalities, and it didn't quite leak into the actual activities described in the book, kept me sleeping at night.

THE INTERROGATOR builds a frightening reality - one which frequently seems all too plausible, at other times displaying all the elements of the classic military thriller - a lot of blood, gore, mysterious and nefarious goings on, action aplenty, a bit of romance and intrigue, some family background and ultimately - a battle royal between the good guys and the bad.

Jay is an interesting sort of a central character for a thriller.  He has a high reputation in his field, he's taught a lot of other people about the techniques and tricks used in interrogation, and whilst he's fully aware of what his tormentors are doing to him when he's placed in the position of victim, he can control some of the outcomes but not all of them.  A threat to his own father is nearly enough to make him give up the fight, but then his father's no slouch in the intelligence and covert game and between them, they make a formidable team.

THE INTERROGATOR is a thriller - there are elements in this book that just go with that territory.  The ability of the central character to absorb limitless physical pummelling and just get up and get on with it is a given.  A big conspiracy - a huge conspiracy is required to make the stakes high - proving that the biggest enemy is often a lot closer than you realise.  A touch of romantic and sexual tension.  The one man against the entire conspiracy concept gives you your lone wolf, the one man to save the world scenario that you need to keep the action moving and the tension ramped up nice and high.  Nothing at all wrong with all of those elements, provided they are executed with some aplomb, which is achieved in THE INTERROGATOR.  This book does twist the circumstances a lot more though, and perhaps that's the only minor quibble - there's a lot of twists and turns and the reader will have to be on their game to keep up with what's going on.

I do like a good military thriller.  I like a big conspiracy and the one man (or woman) who will save us all from a fate worse than death.  I like a bit of super-human action and I like a bit of derring doing and impossible feating.  I can even like the touches of sentimentality that arise as the action calms and everyone involved dusts themselves off and gets ready for the next encounter!  I sometimes just like a good old fashioned entertaining rush around in an over the top, world's in peril scenario.  THE INTERROGATOR filled these elements for me nicely, it kept me wondering until the end, it certainly made me want to cling to my theory of fictional activities way after I'd finished reading the book.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

According to Greek Mythology, Aphrodite had a wayward eye and a loyal son. When Eros gave Harpocrates a rose to keep quiet about his mother’s little indiscretions, the rose became a symbol for secrecy. This is a story Jay Ryan has never heard — until his hand is nailed to a table and a red rose tattooed onto his wrist.

Jay is an interrogator with a dark past and a tortured soul; he’s also the keeper of secrets Israeli spies will kill to get their hands upon. Renowned for his skills, he is used to commanding a certain level of respect amongst his peers. Then one day Jay is drugged, tortured, tattooed and accused of rape. He is forced to reveal information that could further destabilise fragile Middle East relations and plunge the entire region into war. They are secrets he has struggled to keep hidden for four years — proof that the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ knew Israeli Mossad agents removed chemical weapons from Iraq before the launch of the 2003 invasion.

After escaping his captors, Jay discovers that he is wanted for crimes he didn’t commit and that his father has been kidnapped by his own intelligence agency. No-nonsense secret agent Sarah Evans and lively retired security guard William ‘Bill’ Hunter join Jay on a quest to get his father back alive and avoid Israeli spies hell-bent on eliminating them all. Together they uncover the truth behind two spy agencies playing a high-stakes game of espionage with a ‘winner take all’ mindset. After Sarah goes missing, Jay must choose between hunting his father’s kidnappers or saving Sarah and exposing Israel’s involvement in the removal of chemical weapons from Iraq.

THE INTERROGATOR is a story of betrayal and nightmarish conspiracy firmly rooted in the highest levels of government across international alliances. The story rockets toward a shattering finale that will leave the survivors changed forever. Thriller fans will enjoy the colourful characters, twisting, turning plots and fast action. The authentic military details gives the story a chillingly real context, drawing the reader into Jay’s world and not letting us go until the very end.

Karen Chisholm
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Blog Currently Reading - The Interrogator, JJ Cooper
Karen Chisholm
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