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Set against a backdrop of Oval Office corruption, bestseller Meltzer's overblown thriller opens with a frantic assassination attempt on President Leland Manning, who manages to elude the gunfire. Manning's deputy chief of staff, Ron Boyle, is killed, and his top aide, the cocky, ambitious Wes Holloway, is left facially disfigured. Eight years later, his motivation and confidence drained by his handicap, Holloway still toils away for the out-of-office Manning, fetching refreshments and handling the daily social calendar. On a goodwill junket to Malaysia, however, Holloway spots Boyle, surgically altered, but unmistakably the same man who was supposed to be dead and gone. From this turning point, Meltzer (The Zero Game) follows Holloway step by excruciatingly slow step as he tries to find out what really happened eight years earlier. Authentic details about Washington politics and historical mysteries enliven the predictable path. While readers looking for efficient plotting may be disappointed, Meltzer's many fans will enjoy this substantial meal of a book. 15-city author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Wes Holloway, a hotshot presidential aide, is wounded in an assassination attempt that kills the president's close friend. Eight years later, the dead man reappears, disfigured but very much alive and apparently stalking the former president. Wes thinks he can figure out what's going on, but to do so he must decipher a two-century-old code and penetrate the secrets of Masonic history. From his first novel, The Tenth Justice (1997), through his sixth, Identity Crisis (2005), Meltzer has served up exciting thrillers that take readers behind the scenes of American politics. The pattern doesn't change this time. Like the television series The West Wing, Meltzer's novels focus on the political people the public never sees and tells the stories we never hear. He could be accused here of jumping on the Da Vinci Code bandwagon, but that wouldn't really be fair. He's too good a writer to waste his time imitating someone else's work, and this novel is much more skillfully written--and far more plausible--than Dan Brown's tedious best-seller. The characters are genuine human beings--not all that common in the world of high-concept thrillers--and the plot fluidly integrates historical fact and fiction, which is even less common. Fans of thrillers that reach far back into history will be, well, . . . thrilled. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.