The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.
When everything falls apart, who do you trust?
President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.
Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.
Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.
As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.
Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?
The Executive Office, book 3
Thriller – Suspense
M/M (multi-couple ensemble)
176,000 words | 445 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
Click for more information regarding ratings.
Maybe don’t throw tomatoes at me or anything, but umm…I’m new to this series. Like, really new. And I typically don’t like to read series books out of order. But as a review blogger, I’ve sometimes felt like I needed to suck it up and dive right into the deep end with a book smack dab in the middle of STUFF HAPPENING. Obviously, I don’t have to take on books if I don’t want to — and I don’t. Sometimes, though, the blurb or hype I’ve heard through the grapevine is too strong to resist getting in front of a release date and previous books.
So, yeah, I dared to dive in. In the dark. Head first. Without a life preserver or a lifeguard on duty.
As a newbie to The Executive Office series I’m full of ALLLL the Hot Damn while simultaneously wondering why the hell it took me so long.
Should this series be read in order? Yeah, probably.
Was I missing tidbits and past history? How things came to be? The foundational details that would have helped me get a better grip in the beginning? Sure.
Was I lost? Umm…momentarily. It was touch and go until maybe around chapter three. But not enough to even think about throwing in the towel.
But honestly, it wasn’t overly taxing to get the gist and find my bearings. And it didn’t take a whole lotta effort on the part of this book to grab me by my throat with a relentless grip because the writing is THAT SOLID.
For a while, I wasn’t sure how I felt about an ensemble cast. But really, not my place to judge since I hadn’t read books one and two. With all the moving pieces, and such a huge cast of integral players, it made sense; even if it did take me a hot minute to jump on board with the why of it.
In tone and feel this was a little bit like a mashup of Crimson Tide, a little bit Thirteen Days, a little bit World War III (the 1982 one). It rarely stops to catch a breath in a global race against time, distance, nature, and some BAD DUDES. Every time the good guys seemed to get ahead (or at least move forward a little bit) SOMEONE, or SOMETHING set them back a pace or two. It was relentless. And uh, maybe not all the folks you think are good guys are, in fact, good guys.
As a military brat and a wee-bit of a military geek who really doesn’t know much other than OH COOL WHAZAT BUTTON DO, I was in awe of the intricacy. This kind of military suspense is my crack. Plus, I’m immediately intrigued when folks are leaning over a map on the hood of a vehicle, or all serious with the grease pencils and pointer sticks. Top it off with all the tactical maneuvering in the submarine scenes, holy cow was that AMAZINGLY well done.
Then ummm…so much of the politicking and government intrigue was eeeeeerily familiar with some of the shit going on today. I mean, we joke in that dark humor kind of way that our president is BFFs with Putin, yeah? And that’s concerning as hell right now. But what if the world was a little bit of a different place in twenty or so years and that was SO PERFECTLY OKAY?
I don’t know, y’all. This was often profound and poetic with me holding my breath for pages on end. Hoping, when hope felt like such a small, impossible thing.
For a while, I wanted to call this Pre-Apocalyptic. It could’ve been. Because THE WORLD WAS ABOUT TO END OH MY GOD.
This story is full tilt-a-whirl with the Action and Suspense along with a few side dishes of STEAMY Romance. So let’s talk about the romance…
Like I said, the story hits the ground running, picking up with a plot that has arced across previous books. Same with the love stories and love interests. There’s at least one established couple — Jack and Ethan. Then the others, whom I imagine, have either been on-again-off-again or tap-dancing around each other like Faisal and Adam, or Sergey and Sasha. Also like I said earlier, I’m often dubious of ensemble casts. But with all the threads dangling, all the action taking place hither and yon, all the minutia and moving parts on such a global scale, it all made sense and worked stupendously. Plus, I often needed breaks from the mayhem of imminent death for some moments of quiet intimacy, and never did I ever feel like I was missing out too terribly on why these three couples came to be. It’s the HOW I need to get my hands on because, my oh my, the romances were gorgeous.
My heart was in a clench with all three of these couples. Jack and Ethan seemed to have everything figured out. They were rock solid, except for, ya know, the slip-n-slide across the razor’s edge of death and survival all the damn time. Faisal and Adam — I need more background to understand the details of how they’ve gotten to where they are in this installment. But there’s a real kind of fear and heartache in these guys with outside forces beyond apocalyptic danger working against them that…well, let me just say I cried lots of tears while they figured out a way to navigate to their HEA. Sergey and Sasha, with all their stoic angst, these guys were their own worst enemies in weighing what they thought was right against what was in their hearts. Theirs seemed more an internal struggle of getting out of their own way than the seriousness of the external roadblocks.
My ONLY niggle was that sometimes the romance parts were a tad too sappy sweet. Going from hard-core tactical warfare, and saving the goddamn world, and oh shit we’re all about to die to pages of sweet, sweet nothings full of I love you’s, and you’re everything’s — eh. Maybe some of that could’ve been tightened up a little bit. But I’m cynical, and even though I’m here for all the romance, sometimes it seemed to take too long to get back to SAVING THE GODDAMN WORLD.
That kind of niggle ordinarily might make me knock a half a star off of a rating. But I can’t do it. Can Not. Impossible, y’all. Because I’m beyond blown away by the epicness of what I’ve just read.
If you haven’t read this series, I recommend it. Maybe don’t dive into book three head first like I did? But it won’t kill you if you do.
For those of you who’ve been waiting for this book because you’d already discovered all the fabulousness, I daresay you won’t be disappointed. But also? A heads up from one of y’all around here would’ve been nice so I could’ve maybe not been so tardy to the party.
It’s now a moral imperative that I retro-fit the first two books into my life. One-click, here I come.
Advance Review Copy generously provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing and Design.
Other Books in the Series:
1) Enemies of the State * Currently $0.99 at Amazon and Smashwords.
1.5) Interlude: First Noel
2) Enemy of My Enemy
About the Author:
Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.
Pronouns: They/them & he/him
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