The president of the United States faces foreign and domestic threats while battling a devastating illness in Owen’s (Emergency Care, 2013, etc.) latest novel.
A routine flight to Andrews Air Force Base takes an ominous turn for President Stephanie Franklin when she learns that Bantu Sibaba, leader of the African nation of Wakembezi, intends to build a nuclear bomb. Despite her campaign promise not to lead the country into war, she knows the scope of the mercurial dictator’s ambition. The situation with Sibaba is complicated by a series of anonymous, threatening letters that Franklin receives at her office; these missives take on a sinister new dimension after she survives an assassination attempt. She seeks support from her husband, Tony, a charismatic actor, but she soon learns he’s having an affair. Devastated, she turns to her close confidant and press secretary, Adam Thorsten, a man who’s loved her since they first met in Africa years ago. As she and Adam investigate the threats, they discover her mentor and former ally, U.S. Sen. Philip Lowe, may have secrets of his own. The investigation and the need to stop Sibaba become even more urgent when the president discovers that she’s suffering from a life-threatening disease. Soon, she’s in a race against time to find a cure and save the nation. Owen’s narrative opens with a suspenseful series of chapters that effectively introduce the main characters, and she maintains that momentum through strong character development and unexpected plot twists. President Franklin is a woman of great compassion and integrity who’s faced numerous tragedies in the past, including the deaths of her ambassador father and her first husband. Owen skillfully shows how her Christian faith guides her decisions and provides her with the strength to face her personal and political crises. Her relationship with Adam, built on years of mutual trust and respect, provides a solid emotional counterpoint to the political intrigue that surrounds them. They’re surrounded by an effective supporting cast, including Franklin’s adulterous husband; Sen. Lowe, a wily villain who seeks to manipulate the president; and a mysterious woman who may be connected to the president’s past.
Entertaining, romantic suspense with vivid characters and a fast-paced plot.