The FBI races to uncover a complex conspiracy to hijack a presidential election.
McCrone’s (Faithless Elector, 2016) second installment in the Imogen Trager series picks up where its predecessor left off: a plot to steal the presidency results in the murders of seven electors, in retribution for their refusal to change their votes, and three faithless electors, who were killed in order to silence them. After a chaotic shootout, the assistant director of the FBI languishes in a medically induced coma; professor Duncan Calder (Trager’s love interest) is badly wounded; and Thomas Kurtz, an FBI agent complicit in the conspiracy, is dead. There is powerful evidence of electoral fraud in Illinois, and it’s likely that when Congress convenes, it will deem the votes of the faithless electors illegitimate. In that case, in accordance with the 12th Amendment, a vote by the House of Representatives will select a new president and one by the Senate, a new vice president, the two possibly from different parties. Both presidential candidates—Republican James Christopher and Democrat Diane Redmond—suggest the other is culpable of fraud, and the public grows violently disillusioned by an increasingly shambolic pantomime of the democratic process. McCrone skillfully depicts a country pushed to the brink: “In this atmosphere, it was growing harder to know what was going on at all, nor what information to trust. The Constitution was straining at the seams.” Trager helps the FBI find evidence of two conspiratorial cells—one operating within the bureau and one outside of it. The acting executive assistant director of the FBI, Don Weir, worries that the agency continues to be infiltrated by moles. The author yet again deftly delivers a combination of stirring action and remarkably intricate plot entanglements. And this is a timely and intelligent commentary on the current state of electoral politics in America—a dour sense of voter disenfranchisement in response to dizzyingly ubiquitous corruption. But the plot is sometimes torpidly complex, and despite dutiful synopses of prior events regularly issued, this will be a difficult book to follow for those who haven’t read the first.
A rousing and provocative political thriller, though the labyrinthine plot can make for an arduous read.