NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, May 8, 2015

The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer

2.0 out of 5 stars -- Though this is the 3rd in the Beecher White series, it is the first and last book by this author that I will read. Defying my ability to suspend disbelief, the novel features, as the main character, an archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC. In addition to this exciting job, he's also a member of a super secret 200-year-old organization called the Culper Ring -- designed to protect the presidency at all costs. To add more glamor, Beecher is on a first name basis with the current (fictional) President and other important government and Secret Service personnel. Plus, Beecher has wondered all his life what happened to his father, who may or may not have died while in the military many years ago. And just one more thing, he's got ties to a man who knew his father and who had murdered a former First Lady while attempting to assassinate her husband. Whew! Plus he's got some friends from childhood and they are all connected to the action in this incredibly crazy and complicated plot.

The first annoyance was that the narrative flips back and forth in time and setting which is confusing. There are a lot of characters and it's likely intentional that the reader is clueless about each person's motives and objectives. Hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys, but we know Beecher is ALL THAT. He's such a good guy that he only knows how to do the "right thing." I didn't like him. Of course there's a romance or two and lots of action when our hero escapes nearly impossible odds. Halfway through the book, I was just wanting it all to be over. I kept plodding away for what is the best and only reason to read this and that is that the author includes a vast amount of what I hope are accurate historical facts and details about everything from Secret Service pins to Devil's Island. I was bound to learn something I didn't know and I found that information quite interesting.

The author's writing style is one that doesn't appeal to me, he repeats himself a lot, and offers cliches as a substitute for any dimension in Beecher's character. Perhaps it's just that I read this third book instead of starting with the first in the series, but I don't want to get to know Beecher better or hang out with him any more. Read it if you like nonstop action with a high body count and lots of intrigue.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for an e-book ARC to review.

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