Faced with a dire threat from Russia, U.S. operatives attempt to sneak a disgruntled Kremlin official with knowledge of an impending attack out of Moscow.
The official is Deputy Foreign Minister Yakov Pavel, whose political standing is being whittled down by Putin-like President Vyachesian Leninovich Kalugin's coldblooded henchman, Gen. Gromyko. Since the mysterious death of Pavel's daughter and son-in-law, scientists who were working on a secret project, he has been open to overtures from the West. The Americans assigned to get Pavel are Brett Garrett, a wrongly dishonored former Navy Seal working as a private contractor, and FBI agent Valerie Mayberry, a rich girl who has no problem acting like one. Garrett, who sounds like John Wayne ("Listen to me and listen good"), is hooked on opioids; Mayberry takes Adderall for her ADHD. Driving the action are the gunning down of the U.S. ambassador in Kiev and violence perpetuated by Antifa protesters who some American officials insist are working with the Russians. Considering there is nary a mention of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, the title of the book seems cynical and exploitative. President Randle Fitzgerald, a former NFL quarterback, has a marginal presence (as does Kalugin). It's left to CIA director Harold Harris to voice his contempt of Congress.. As one might expect, Gingrich (with co-author Earley) tilts to the right in portraying liberals as misguided or naïve. The results can be laughable. "How dare you objectify me!" Mayberry shouts at a conservative congressman. "You're exactly what's wrong with Republicans and our government." Even though Mayberry is play-acting in the scene, you have to wonder who would buy such fakery.
For all its political posturing, Gingrich's first entry in a new contemporary series is a competent thriller. But in a crowded field of books inspired by current events, lacking top-drawer suspense, it fails to stand out.