Blowback
by Patterson, James; Dubois, Brendan (CON)






Two CIA agents find their loyalties divided between chain of command and the Constitution when their former Director, now the president of the United States, asks them to carry out a clandestine power grab with deadly consequences.





James Patterson is the world's bestselling author. The creator of Alex Cross, he has produced more enduring fictional heroes than any other novelist alive. He lives in Florida with his family.   

Brendan DuBois is the award-winning author of twenty-two novels and more than one hundred seventy short stories, garnering him three Shamus Awards from the Private Eye Writers of America. He is also a Jeopardy! game show champion.





What if a sitting American president loses his mind? And not just in a small way? What if, say, he enlists a couple of CIA agents to execute a top-secret (and wildly illegal) plan to wipe out his enemies, foreign and domestic? It's a premise that's not quite as implausible as it might have seemed a half-dozen years ago. The narrative is written in the present tense, giving the proceedings an immediacy that proves crucial to keeping the reader from exploring the story's weaknesses: a certain thinness of character and an overreliance on suspending disbelief (even once the premise is accepted). It helps that Patterson, writing with coauthor DuBois, employs his signature short chapters and constantly shifts the point of view from one character to the next, keeping us wondering what's going to happen next. Patterson's name on the cover pretty much guarantees an audience, but books with his name on them vary considerably in quality, from barely serviceable to quite good. Rank this one somewhere in the middle: clever and unnerving but a bit too slick to really get our pulses spiking. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





A rogue president schemes to start, and end, a cyberwar with China. It feels almost like business as usual to CIA field operative Benjamin Lucas when the defection of his Stanford schoolmate Chin Lin from the Chinese Ministry of State Security goes pear-shaped: Masked men storm the meeting in which Chin is handing over supersecret information, Chin gets shot, Ben gets abducted and imprisoned. But Chin's imperious boss, Xi Dejiang, is the least of their problems, or their nations'. Shuttling back and forth to reveal a constantly widening panorama, Patterson and DuBois focus on deputy CIA director Hannah Abrams' stalled nomination as director, inoffensive finance officer Donna Otterson's suicide when she's arrested for passing CIA secrets to the Chinese, and the mysterious poisoning that's sent Vice President Laura Hernandez into a coma. The spider at the center of all this skulduggery is President Keegan Barrett, who's ordered CIA operatives Liam Grey and Noa Himel to assemble secret teams to terminate with extreme prejudice any Chinese espionage operations they can find inside or outside the U.S. Convinced that he's been ordained to rend China's digital infrastructure from top to bottom, Barrett has insulated himself from second-guessing by surrounding himself with yes men and neutralizing any dissenting voices by canceling their communications capabilities or having them assassinated. Echoing Fletcher Knebel's Night of Camp David, which they acknowledge, and Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove, which they don't, the authors set their rousing tale of a few good citizens determined to wrestle the country back from a delusional paranoiac in a world that's at once absolutely menacing and deeply nostalgic. The perfect beach read for political junkies willing to change the frequency for a few hours. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A rogue president schemes to start, and end, a cyberwar with China. It feels almost like business as usual to CIA field operative Benjamin Lucas when the defection of his Stanford schoolmate Chin Lin from the Chinese Ministry of State Security goes pear-shaped: Masked men storm the meeting in which Chin is handing over supersecret information, Chin gets shot, Ben gets abducted and imprisoned. But Chin's imperious boss, Xi Dejiang, is the least of their problems, or their nations'. Shuttling back and forth to reveal a constantly widening panorama, Patterson and DuBois focus on deputy CIA director Hannah Abrams' stalled nomination as director, inoffensive finance officer Donna Otterson's suicide when she's arrested for passing CIA secrets to the Chinese, and the mysterious poisoning that's sent Vice President Laura Hernandez into a coma. The spider at the center of all this skulduggery is President Keegan Barrett, who's ordered CIA operatives Liam Grey and Noa Himel to assemble secret teams to terminate with extreme prejudice any Chinese espionage operations they can find inside or outside the U.S. Convinced that he's been ordained to rend China's digital infrastructure from top to bottom, Barrett has insulated himself from second-guessing by surrounding himself with yes men and neutralizing any dissenting voices by canceling their communications capabilities or having them assassinated. Echoing Fletcher Knebel's Night of Camp David, which they acknowledge, and Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove, which they don't, the authors set their rousing tale of a few good citizens determined to wrestle the country back from a delusional paranoiac in a world that's at once absolutely menacing and deeply nostalgic. The perfect beach read for political junkies willing to change the frequency for a few hours. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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