Emergency Powers
by James McCrone

"Was this the final move of the conspiracy she had chased into a blind alley?"

Readers will recognize some themes plucked from reality in this timely third volume of the Imogen Trager thriller series. The story explodes from the starting gate with the startling death by natural causes of newly-elected President Diane Redmond. Redmond's successor, Vice President Robert Moore, publicly pledges to make no major deviation from her political platform, but the administration takes on a new direction behind the scenes. Moore's vice president finds himself locked out of the president's circle and their back-channel meetings. Though his party controls House and Senate, Moore seems shielded by the Department of Justice under a newly appointed Attorney General.

Agent Trager, previously assigned to the FBI's Faithless Elector Task Force, rises to the occasion. She'd "seemingly stopped the plot to steal the presidency" in the second novel of the series but had “failed to expose or pierce the tight circle of leaders at the heart of the network. Trager soon discovers Moore is engaged "and possibly even entrapped himself" in a cross-country web of deceit masterminded through a clever corporate flight operation.

While the story's action is sometimes slowed a bit by narrative detail, the depth and breadth of research needed to create the believable political and law enforcement scenarios is a testament to McCrone's craftsmanship. The seamless writing doesn't distract from the flow as sometimes happens with less polished gun-and-run thrillers. Many characters are multidimensional, another anomaly in this plot-driven genre, and readers will enjoy discovering the strengths and flaws of good guys and bad guys alike. When the main target of Trager's old case reaches out "a man who had tried to kill her" the effective conflict heightens the tension as the story races to a last-minute confrontation to halt the most sinister plot in the nation's history.

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