In this debut thriller, Williams tells the story of Tom Fargo, a former radical anti-war protestor who has “sold out” and joined the staff of Penn Mallory, a senator with presidential aspirations. Soon, Tom, who has suffered from anxiety attacks ever since 9/11, is asked to investigate a mysterious plane crash that claimed the life of another important figure in the administration. He unearths an intricate network of conspiracies and shadowy figures, including a murdered blogger with a secret, a rogue Mossad agent, and the CEO of a private security firm who plots to take over the CIA. Williams ably outlines the complex, double-dealing nature of the world that Tom discovers. With shades of Homeland and House of Cards, the novel builds an effective sense of dread around Tom and his desperate mission of finding the truth. The plot sometimes grows overcomplicated—by the end, readers may find themselves rereading passages in an effort to assemble the pieces. There are also a few too many characters who deliver long-winded, angry speeches about government: “We’re just bit players in a game that’s fixed. You manufacture hope, and then you feed it, and then you do whatever it takes to build obstacles that keep us from achieving it.” Yet, on the whole, the novel is a well-done political thriller. It delivers excitement, suspense and cheers in all the right places.
A labyrinthine conspiracy thriller with both verve and heart.