I read ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN by Luana Ehrlich as a judge in the Grace Awards. Right in the first pages, its authenticity floored me and made me want to keep reading. The author has such a vast knowledge of CIA protocols, one wonders if she’s had some type of connection to that highly secretive world.
The story begins in Tehran. Titus Ray, an undercover American CIA agent is being hunted by Iranian authorities, but manages to escape the country. Back in the states, he learns he’s been targeted by an Iranian assassin. The CIA gives him a new cover story (a legend) and ships him to Oklahoma for his own safety. The rest of the story plays out on American soil and is a skillful combination of detective novel and spy story.
This book was a finalist in the Action-Adventure/Thriller/Western/Epic Novel category of the Grace Awards 2014 because it’s main character, CIA agent Titus Ray, was deeply affected by the Christian family who gave him shelter while he hid in Tehran. Thus he began a personal, spiritual search and converted to Christianity. The faith element of the novel doesn’t at all intrude on the action-adventure, spy story. It simply gives the main character depth.
The novel is well written, exciting, actually. It kept me fully engaged. My only criticism is that it seems to end abruptly with a major string untied. This is deliberate on the part of the author, a literary choice she made. I recommend this novel and will indeed be reading the sequel.