Elliott and Thompson | 2020 (16 April) | 496p | Review copy | Buy the book
A Boeing 747 blows up on its way from London to the US. Over 500 people are killed instantly in this horrendous act of terror. But then it is reported that the controversial and popular US presidential candidate Dale Victor was aboard the plane. Elizabeth Kirk, director of the International Security Bureau based in New York, is immediately suspicious. Victor had threatened in his most recent speech that he knew something about the incumbent President Knowles that, if widely known, would destroy the President’s high popularity rating and his whole career. Kirk knows what the secret is and she suspects the worse – that the plane might have been brought down by an agency far closer to home than a Middle Eastern terrorist group. She calls in one of her agents, Joe Dempsey, and sets him off on a trail of clues that will lead him to the very heart of the American government. The journey will be lethal.
Meanwhile, the British police believe they have the man responsible for planting the bomb but the officer in charge isn’t so sure. Michael Devlin is given the job of defending Nizar Mansour but that’s if the case even gets to court. Somebody wants Mansour dead at all costs, and not just him, but everyone associated with him, including Michael. There is no-one to trust, only his friend Dempsey in the US and Dempsey has a deadly fight of his own on his hands.
Power Play is the third thriller by Tony Kent to feature three fantastic characters – Joe Dempsey, Michael Devlin and journalist Sarah Truman. Each novel features all three but with a different focus. In Power Play the spotlight is on Joe Dempsey as he takes on the American secret service. But we also spend plenty of time with Michael and Sarah as they try and uncover the truth behind Mansour’s story. This also gives us the welcome distraction of the relationship between Michael and Sarah, which is now becoming very serious in such a good way. But some of the most tense moments of the novel come when Michael realises that his own life is in danger as well, plus the scenes when we spend time with Mansour. The contrast between the danger on the London streets and the political turmoil that Dempsey uncovers in the US is really well done. Both are appealing while being very different.
The story is great and it thrills on so many levels. The concept is staggering and Power Play more than lives up to its premise. It’s full of surprises and shocks and is immensely sinister at times. I really enjoy political thrillers and this is one of the best ones I’ve read. This isn’t just because Tony Kent writes so well – and he writes really well! – but because I feel thoroughly engaged with these characters. It’s good to spend more time with Joe Dempsey. He can be difficult to know but now we’re given bigger glimpses into his private life, his home and his past. He’s an interesting man.
Tony Kent is a brilliant thriller writer, as we’ve seen in Killer Intent and Marked for Death. Each of the books stand alone, despite the developing relationships in them, so you could definitely enjoy Power Play without having read the others but each of these books is such a treat for thriller fans. They are packed with action! The stories are fabulous. There is so much going on and each book is made all the more rich by the fact that it divides between our three characters. I’ve been having some trouble settling with books due to the situation we’re all facing but Power Play was the perfect reading choice for me. It is extremely difficult to put down and it is immensely rewarding. I’m being strict with my rewards of five stars this year but Power Play deserves every one of them.