Book Review: Three Minutes to Doomsday (Joe Navarro) @navarrotells @ScribnerBooks

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 2.09.20 PM.pngThree Minutes to Doomsday, a nonfiction book following a cat and mouse game between FBI agent, Joe Navarro and a former American soldier turned spy, Rod Ramsey, was a completely different read than what I would choose for myself.

But, in the name of #cjsreads, I gave it a try!

The novel opens with FBI Agent, Joe Navarro, on the lead of a man (Rod Ramsey) they believe is connected to a American soldier, acting a spy, near the end of the Cold War. What begins as a regular interview turns into an intense psychological battle, after Navarro notices a shaky hand in the midst of a menial task. He knows that Rod Ramsey is lying.

This one, ironically, read a bit like fiction. Navarro’s narrative voice seemed like he was telling a story, similar to most of the first person fiction books I read. Perhaps it was because this novel was part memoir, part autobiography and part historical text.

I have always been interested in profiling (Criminal Minds anyone?) and I found that Navarro used these techniques through his interviewing.  What starts as a typical case, turns into something more complex as Navarro must use his wits to outsmart his suspect.  The relationship that is built between these men was truly fascinating.

I found this to be incredibly fast paced until about the half way mark. I began to become extremely frustrated with this novel.   It was taking too long; but then I realized, that was the point.  This novel has an uncanny ability to make you feel as if you are in the midst of the investigation. I’m sure these were the exact emotions that Navarro was feeling as he tried to get a confession.

Overall, although this is something I wouldn’t read on my own accord, I feel like lovers of spy authors (think Vince Flynn and Tom Clancy) would devour a novel like this!

Keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of this pick!

What Chandra Thought:

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4 Stars

I won’t bore you and regurgitate the synopsis for this one – the title says it all (but if you really want to know, go to my blog and it’ll be posted there). So let’s just get into it, shall we?

I’m not a big non-fiction reader, nor do I care for history, historical fact, the past, etc. etc… so why would I ever pick up this book then since they are both?? Because it’s so damn intriguing! Behavioral analysis and profiling? Check! FBI agents? Check! Espionage? Check! Intellectual cat and mouse tug of war? CHECK! What’s not to like? And to think that this is a TRUE story is fascinating… and utterly scary.This book read like a novel. I had to repeatedly remind myself that this was real, the author actually lived what I was reading. To be in his mind and see how he choreographed and dueled with the highly intellectual Ramsay was extremely impressive and made me realize that’s a job I would never be cut out for! Thank goodness for the likes of Mr. Navarro and the every day people in that field who have the cunning ability to help this country (for the greater good).

If you love spy novels, non-fiction and want a peek inside the mind of this brilliant man and read his story of the worst espionage breach in US history, then I highly suggest you pick this book up and give it a go.

What Jessica Thought: 

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I am a sucker for a great political thriller! At first, I had no idea this was nonfiction. It doesn’t read like the typical dry and overly analytical nonfiction history/political books. Joe Navarro does an amazing job telling the story of an incredible cat and mouse game between him and a “person of interest” in espionage during the end of the Cold War.
An agent, a traitor, and the worst espionage breach in US history. We follow FBI Agent Joe Navarro coming to the end of the Cold War. In his interrogations with former American soldier Rod Ramsay, he begins to suspect espionage, all because of a shaky hand while performing a basic task. What follows is a two year long game of cat and mouse between agent and traitor. He tells the story as it unfolds – just like a work of fiction would read. We get a front row seat in how he interrogates Ramsay without raising suspicion and how he went about opening a case on him. The tensions between the Soviet Union and the US were crazy and with this kind of espionage breach could have meant the complete destruction of the US.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with this book. If I wouldn’t have looked it up, I probably wouldn’t have known it was nonfiction. I will say, if you aren’t a fan of politics or nonfiction, maybe skip this one. But I LOVE this kind of stuff. My senior project for my undergrad was espionage in the Cuban Missile Crisis. So this was right up my alley!
I give this 5/5 stars!
Thanks to the author and to the publisher for the copies of this novel; it was our pleasure to provide honest reviews.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Three Minutes to Doomsday (Joe Navarro) @navarrotells @ScribnerBooks

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