The Tehran Conviction

Written by Tom Gabbay
Review by Chuck Curtis

The third novel to feature Gabbay’s CIA sleuth, Jack Teller, pivots between Teller’s 1953 assignment in Iran and his return in 1979. In 1953 idealism and hope motivated both Teller and an Iranian government official he manipulates, Yari Fatemi, in the CIA-sponsored overthrow of the young Iranian democracy. By 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini is in power and Fatemi sits in jail awaiting execution. Motivated by the guilt of his earlier treachery, Teller returns to Iran to save Fatemi.

Gabbay accomplishes a great deal in this novel. He connects the cynical international politics of 1953 to the hard-line Islamic politics of Iran in 1979. He also shows the personal corruption that grows in people who cross first one ethical line and then another until they lose all moral bearings. Gabbay gives us a front-row seat to these two tectonic events in Iranian history and offers a personal connection to the life and death choices Teller must make.

The back-and-forth viewpoints between the 1953 revolution and the 1979 Islamic revolt ask more of your attention than a standard thriller. However, the effort rewards you with both entertainment and historical facts about a nation that is in our headlines every week.