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Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
When a novel’s dramatis personae include such real-life characters as Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, you know the story is at least going to be interesting. And so it is in Thou Shall Not Kill, the third and final book in author John Leifer’s Commander John Hart trilogy. It is well known that Russia, the United States, and Israel are in the nuclear weapons club and that Iran is on the cusp of joining if it isn’t there already. It is also beyond doubt that terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah are armed to the teeth, courtesy of Iran, and are hell-bent on the complete destruction of the State of Israel. But what if a coalition organized by Iran and fully supported by Russia decides on a well-planned, decisive attack on Israel, determined once and for all to wipe Israel off the map? And what if Israel, with its back against the wall, considers it has no choice but to use nuclear weapons to defend itself? Enter the United States and the president’s go-to man for doomsday scenarios, Commander John Hart. The events which follow are frightening, not least because John Leifer has the uncanny ability to render the unlikely plausible.
This intelligently written novel falls squarely into the difficult-to-put-down variety. Thou Shall Not Kill is a thriller of thrillers that really stands out from the crowd. The fictional characters slide effortlessly in beside the real ones, events in the Middle East are described with care and diligent research, the fictional story is set in a believable context, frightening though that may be. John Leifer is able to describe in detail an incredible array of weapons in each side’s arsenal. For those readers who have followed the exploits of John Hart through the trilogy, there is an interesting — and thoughtful — twist at the end, understandable for a man who has witnessed what he has. It would be a sin if Thou Shall Not Kill does not make the bestseller list.