A conspiracy thriller offers a look at politics, journalism, and the fate of the American experiment.
Paige Turner is the epitome of a hungry reporter. An investigative journalist with her own weekly TV show, she hits well above her weight class and is dogged in looking for the people responsible for America’s disquieting surveillance apparatus. Paige’s character is a familiar archetype, but her voice is charming and she could easily go toe-to-toe with any number of hard-boiled protagonists, keeping readers alert and intrigued as much as she does her own enemies and allies. But when Paige receives a package describing a secretive billionaire, known only as the Architect, and his plot to install himself as the supreme power of the United States, she may have finally bitten off more than she can chew. At the same time, the Architect’s cabal races to patch the leaks in its ranks, and to prepare for the execution of the vital first stage of its leader’s plan. Paige makes rapid preparations to go public with the Architect’s frightening scheme. But when people involved, including those close to her, start winding up dead, she has to confront the fact that whatever she does, the cost may be too high. The only question is whether that cost will be paid by her or by the nation and the entire world. The plotting is especially strong here, sure to delight readers with twists and turns that make the novel easy to pick up and much harder to put down. Unfortunately, Jaffe’s (The Invisible Enemy, 2012, etc.) prose isn’t quite at the same level, with some typos and awkward phrasing distracting from the story: “you’ve attempted to tank the world economies, threating the Architects strategy...must I go on listing your stupidity?” Still, the tale earns a lot of credit for its timeliness, invoking questions about the limits of the American government’s power, the efficacy of its checks and balances, and the fragile state of journalistic institutions the world over.
A bumpy roller-coaster ride that delivers thrills and serious issues.