The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.
The End Game by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison is a great escape. Anyone frustrated by what is going on in the world should read this book. Because of its realistic and authentic storyline people gain an understanding of the dynamics between the US and Iran. Unfortunately, it is only fiction, but the beauty of this novel is how the authors are able to solve the world’s problems, allowing for redemption and justice.
The irony in this book makes for a very suspenseful plot. Returning FBI Special Agents Michaela “Mike” Caine and her British partner, Nicholas Drummond, are on the trail of a shadowy terrorist organization known as the Celebrants of Earth. A scientist, Matthew Spenser, whose family was killed in the 2007 terrorist bombing by the London Underground, heads this anti-Muslim group as they attempt to stop the importing of Middle East oil by bombing refineries. They never hurt people until Darius, an Iranian agent plant, worms his way into COE. His goal is to bring America to its knees through the assassination of its leaders, and convinces Spenser to use increasingly violent means. Drummond and Caine are on the tail of these domestic and foreign terrorists that eventually lead them back to Washington DC where they must thwart the assassinations as well as an attempt to crash the Richmond, Virginia power grid.
Ellison commented to blackfive.net, “We wanted to convey how both the antagonist, Spenser, and one of the heroines, Caine, have their lives shaped by terrorism. Both saw the devastation and murder by the terrorists. While Spenser wants to get revenge in the beginning he did not want to kill and drop down to the terrorists level. Eventually he is pushed to the edge and at that point he lost his sense for caring. On the other hand, Caine was shaped by 9/11, emphasized with this quote, ‘I was sixteen when Nine-Eleven happened. These sons-of-bitches and their bombs and attacks, it still makes me so mad I knew if I had them in front of me, I’d blow off their worthless heads.’”
Another reality of the novel is its use of technology. The terrorists launch cyber attacks against the oil companies, draining their financial and intellectual assets. To fight them the FBI goes on the offensive. The authors must have had a crystal ball considering that in the last Republican debate Governor Jeb Bush talked of “offensive cyber.” One of the characters Adam Pearce, a computer genius, helps the FBI uncover the plots, using aggression action.
But the story is also a word of warning. Imagine the scary scenario of a bomb that is the size of a fifty-cent piece and can get lost in someone’s pocket. It could be dropped in any niche or corner and can be completely overlooked. This and a computerized trigger, allows the detonator to be thousands of miles away from the bomb. Even though Iran has gone live with its nuclear facilities it sends an assassin to steal the hand-size bomb.
The authors superbly pit the President and Vice-President against each other regarding Iran. President Jefferson Bradley wanted a legacy of peace in the Middle East, making it his number one priority. He managed to have all the parties sit down in Geneva. The glory he was seeking is based on a peace accord where America’s enemies became its friends, believing the Iranian President as he panders to the President.
Then there is Vice-President Callan Sloan. She is strong-willed, decisive, intelligent, and not afraid to use America’s might where necessary. Considered a trailblazer, Sloan was a former CIA Agent turned Congresswoman who refused to kowtow to anybody. Her attitude toward Iran is 180 degrees from the President’s, “Are you content to ignore what he says about the West? That we’re a blight, vermin, and should be exterminated?” She understood that the peace meetings were basically for show. Readers will yearn for a real leader like Sloan, regretting that this VP is only fictional. Just think if there was a leader like her in personality, philosophy, and political will, doing what was in the best interests for America and its allies.
Ellison gave a heads up about the next book she and Coulter will write that will bring back The Fox, aka Kitsune. Instead of being a topical novel like The End Game, it will be an historical quest. She explained how a series works, “The first book introduces all the characters. The second book has a plot that showcases them. The third book is where you realize all the limitations you put on your characters. We know Nicholas and Mike tend to go off book; yet, they are FBI agents. They would be fired in the real world. Because of this we decided to have them transition to a new position in the FBI, which you will read about in the next book. It will be very international, going back to the territory of The Lost Key.”
The End Game is a magnificent story where art imitates life. It is a timely tale of terrorism with an added dose of political intrigue. This third in the series has so much intensity that it will be hard to put down. While entertaining it is also has a very thought-provoking plot.