New York Times bestselling author Alex Berenson is the popular writer of the John Wells spy-thriller series, a great addition to the genre which, after 9/11, sparked a whole new generation of authors who in their books investigate and take up the war on terror with new heroes. If you enjoy heroes like Dewey Andreas, Mitch Rapp, Pike Logan, and Scot Harvath, you will want to give John Wells by Alex Berenson a try.
Here are the Alex Berenson books in order for his spy thriller series and his non-fiction standalone books.
New Alex Berenson Books
John Wells Series in Order
- The Faithful Spy, 2006
- The Ghost War, 2008
- The Silent Man, 2009
- The Midnight House, 2010
- The Secret Soldier, 2011
- The Shadow Patrol, 2012
- The Night Ranger, 2013
- The Counterfeit Agent, 2014
- Twelve Days, 2015
- The Wolves, 2016
- The Prisoner, 2017
- The Deceivers, 2018
Other Alex Berenson Books
- The Number, 2003 (non-fiction)
- Lost in Kandahar, 2011 (short story)
- The Prince of Beers, 2012 (non-fiction)
- Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, 2019 (non-fiction)
Alex Berenson Biography
Alex Berenson was born in 1973 in New York, but he grew up in Englewood, NJ, a small town in Bergen county. He attended Yale University from where he graduated with a BA in history and economics in 1994.
The same year, he began working for the Denver Post, where he published over 500 business-related articles until 1996, when he switched companies to work for TheStreet.com, a financial news website. After another three years, he moved to The New York Times, writing as a business investigative reporter.
While working for The Times, he went to Iraq where he covered the occupation of the country in 2003-2004. He also covered medical and pharmaceutical topics, especially issues related to dangerous drugs, and also Hurricane Katrina. In addition, he also covered the well-known ponzi scheme scancal involving Bernard Madoff, the former stockbrocker convicted of fraud. He continued wearing his journalist hat as well, while also writing books, until 2010, when Alex Berenson turned his writing passion into a full-time job as he left The New York Times for good.
His first novel, The Fateful Spy, released in 2006, won an Edgar Award for best first novel by an American writer. It is the first novel to feature John Wells, a deep undercover CIA agent and and special ops soldier who penetrated al Qaeda for ten years, who became a Muslim during that time, and who was no longer trusted by his CIA handler and was believed to be compromised.
In writing his books, Alex Berenson recognized that his time living those months in Iraq helped him better make sense of the military and the way they work. Those five months in Iraq were also the spark of the creation of John Wells. Once he came home, Alex Berenson realized that he has stories to tell. During his time in Iraq he was almost taken as a spy, he was detained, and almost martyred. Some of these experiences scarred him. And they gave him an outlet to tell his stories.
Also, by doing investigative reporting for the newspapers over the years, he knows how authorities with crime, criminals, and how they approach criminal cases. Also, for his research, the author uses plenty of books, online sources, and electronic databases. He also likes to travel to all the places he has written in books so far, including to Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. Most of the John Wells books are grounded in current events, in the present geo-political climate. They deal with terrorists, with false-flag operations, with spies, and attacks against the US. That’s why most of the Alex Berenson books feel authentic, in a way almost like reading the current news, albeit with a flash and a bang.
Should we read the Alex Berenson books in chronological order? While readers can start with any John Wells book, once they’ve read their current novel, it is best if they read the series from the start, going back to The Faithful Spy. Each book builds on the other, and John’s character is revealed even more through the next and the next book. However, there is enough background on the main character that a newcomer to the series can pick up any book and start reading it.
Something that not everyone might know is that Alex Berenson was also consultant on the popular TV show 24, when Howard Gordon, showrunner, who enjoys the John Wells books, asked Alex to do a gig on consulting on their show.
Currently. Alex Berenson lives with his wife, Jacqueline Berenson, a forensic psychiatrist and researcher at Columbia University, and their two children, Lucy and Ezra, in the Hudson Valley, where he is working on his next book.
Who is John Wells?
In an interview, Alex Berenson said it best:
He’s strong, he’s very capable, he’s so tough. Women love him, men fear him, sheep want to be with him, ya know he’s tortured because he’s committed all this violence over the years, but he’s essentially a good guy.
John Wells can easily kill with his bare hands, he loves to ride his motorcycle during the night at high speeds, and he converted to Islam during one of his ops. This is something that has been featured several years later in Homeland, the popular TV show (which is not related to John Wells at all). John left CIA, but he has a deep love for his country, so his job is not over yet. He becomes what is called a rogue operator, one who works outside of the confines of the law, who goes to other countries to stop various terrorist attacks, or save someone, or even avenge someone.
He is not very religious, however, he did convert to Islam during his long undercover operation. Once he got back home, CIA no longer trusted him – and from their point of view, with good reason – until he has proven that his heart is still firmly attached to the beat of his own country, the United States.
Praise for Alex Berenson
Berenson delivers some surprises along the way…Another strong mix of finely turned suspense and subtle character development. (Booklist)
Berenson delivers another strong mix of finely tuned suspense and subtle character development in this latest book (Crossville-Chronicle)
Berenson’s style is as seductive as his storytelling, and The Wolves has a bite that doesn’t let go from the first page straight through to the last. (The Providence Journal)
The fantastic plot, character development and action are insidiously riveting. (Connecticut Day)
An adrenaline-filled thriller…Fans of the John Wells books won’t be disappointed. They’ll agree with his enemies that if Wells isn’t Superman, he’s super something. (Kirkus Reviews)
- Alex Berenson author website
- Rollingstone article on the author’s Tell Your Children book
- The Guardian’s article on Alex Berenson’s controversial stance on weed