Treachery, murder and high-stakes politics land Ben Kincaid (Capitol Threat, 2007, etc.) amid strange bedfellows.
Ten years after the Oklahoma City bombing, a memorial gathering on the site includes POTUS, Mrs. POTUS and assorted dignitaries, among them Oklahoma’s freshman senator, Ben Kincaid. Recently appointed to fill a vacancy, Ben is still uncertain congressional life suits him when suddenly, during President Blake’s address, shots ring out. The president escapes harm, but the first lady goes down, fatally wounded. Hurt almost as seriously after making a heroic effort on her behalf is Ben’s old friend Mike Morelli. Seeing Mike comatose traumatizes Ben so thoroughly that he succumbs to the blandishments of the capitol’s toxic gung-ho gang, who want Ben to spearhead a fight to amend the Constitution because they consider civil liberties incompatible with counter-terrorism. To the astonishment of his brand-new wife, Ben signs on. Fortunately, with the help of head-clearing swigs of his favorite beverage—“Amazing what a thermos of chocolate milk could do for a man”— he recovers his senses, unravels some mysteries, catches some bad guys and resolves some pressing matrimonial issues.
The real problem isn’t the implausible plotting and pulpy prose but the lack of resemblance between Bernhardt’s puppets and human beings.