I want to preface this review with a
quick note about politics. When I read the first book in this series a few days ago, it was as fun, light-hearted escape from stressful politics, but I was still optimistic that those politics would end well, and therefore the escape into a political suspense thriller would, in fact, be fun and light-hearted.
I read this book on the day of the election. I was still hopeful. I finished it, turned on my television, and realized that there is nothing fun or light-hearted about this book, because suddenly the idea of a madman vying for power, a country tearing itself apart, and nuclear warfare wasn’t an escape.
It was a chilling possibility. It was a disturbing reality.
So while you’ll see that I enjoyed this novel quite a lot, know also that, in retrospect, I find it disconcerting and prophetic in a way that no political thriller novel ever should be.
Enemy of My Enemy, by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office, Book 2
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Fifteen years from now, an affair rocks the world.
Two men commit to their impossible love.
One general is determined to destroy them both.
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…
*Jack is demisexual per author/pub, but self-identifies in this book as bisexual
This book picks up right where Enemies of the State ends. It is not a stand-alone, and you won’t understand a damn thing if you don’t read in order.
The first book in this series was a serious, thought-provoking, high-octane thriller disguised as a tropey romance (seriously: Secret Service/President. I melt with delight at the mere thought of it!). And while none of that has changed in Book Two… well, let’s just say that the stakes have been raised and the intensity along with it!
In Enemy of My Enemy, the story expands to take in various other characters, and right from the start I was hit with espionage and treason and violence and mystery. Threads that were laid in Book One are woven together to create a tantalizing web of international politics, and I was extremely pleased by how much I enjoyed the world-building and the complex detail that Tal included. I never once felt lost or confused by all of the characters… but it was blatantly clear that Tal had done an incredible amount of research.
At the start of the book, I did waver a little. I kept thinking, “But there’s nothing new here! It’s an exact parallel of the first book!” and wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading. But I did, and somehow I blinked and read a 150,000 word novel in one afternoon. There may be some similarities in plot and tone between the two books (and yeah, I’m a bit over the Mad Villain Plotting To Take Over The World shtick), but Tal writes it in such way that you’re absorbed into the plot.
The romance between Jack and Ethan was a soothing relief from all of the suspense and violence. Having worked through their “are we a couple or aren’t we?” angst in Book One, they were free to focus on building a solid relationship. The drama is low-key, the sex is passionate and never seems to cool down, and then… well, let’s say just I did not see that plot twist coming! *zips lips*
Now, you should know this book ends on a cliff-hanger. As, uh, I found out the hard way:
But I have zero regrets, because Tal knows how to write a fantastic, high-intensity, edge-of-your-seat suspense novel. Enemy of My Enemy is the kind of book that takes you on a wild ride and leaves you breathless and awe-struck by the end. A fantastic addition to the Executive Office series, and I’m now counting down the days until Book 3 is released!
Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.