Tommy Carmellini returns in this thriller based on the 2016 presidential election.
CIA Director Jake Grafton ponders the shocking defeat of Cynthia Hinton by Vaughn Conyer, a New York billionaire with no political experience. Gasp! Ripped from the headlines! And Hinton must be Clinton! And Conyer must be—but alas, he's no Drump. Hoping to cut a deal for himself, jailed pedophile Junior Sikes asks for a visit from the FBI. He plans to snitch on his employer, voting machine maker American ElectTech, for having rigged the election results. But the "agent" who shows up puts a bullet in his brain before the real FBI can arrive. Although this doesn't look like the CIA's business, Grafton wants narrator Carmellini to look for a foreign connection, a task that receives only token attention. Carmellini’s real CIA job is “technician,” meaning he does dirty work wherever necessary. He "burgle[s] places" and delivers a fake subpoena, and when he impersonates a Federal Election Commissioner to get into the home of a political scientist who committed suicide, he finds a stack of printed spreadsheets labeled “Armageddon.” Perhaps, he muses, it refers to the election as the “final battle between good and evil.” He sounds like a wiseass PI straight out of pulp fiction. In one scene he slaps a guy, then says “Don’t get all constipated on me, Kurt. We got a relationship going here.” Then Kurt whispers, “The wrong person won the election.” Later, Carmellini blows a bad guy’s brains out with his .45 after he decides “Screw that first-shot crap.” As subtly as a train wreck, the author, through Carmellini, compares today’s progressive left with World War II fascists: “Both hated free speech,” blah, blah. And there’s the evil, near-nonagenarian billionaire and one-time SS Hitlerite Anton Hunt, who now supports left-wing causes and may have tried to fix the election for Clin—er, Hinton.
If you believe a criminal lost the White House in 2016, give Coonts’ (Liberty’s Last Stand, 2016, etc.) latest a try. But be warned: it won’t make American literature great again.