Saturday, October 13, 2012

ARC Review: I Do Solemnly Swear by D. M. Annechino

I Do Solemnly Swear
Author: D. M. Annechino
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (October 16, 2012)

Description: After only eight months on the job, President David Rodgers dies from an apparent heart attack, and Katherine Ann Miles, Rodgers’s VP, becomes the first woman to occupy the Oval Office. As she tries to calm a grieving nation and adjust to her new role, Katherine must also contend with an unrelenting power struggle with Congress—the ultimate boys’ club.

With Iran making grave threats against Israel, their troops positioned on the Israeli border, poised to attack, the new president faces her first test in quelling the explosive situation without resorting to major military options. Yet it seems danger lurks closer to home: Clues emerge, suggesting President Rodgers’s death wasn’t so natural. And whoever wanted him dead has Madam President in the crosshairs—and at close range.

A traitor lies in wait as a widespread conspiracy infiltrates the highest level of government in D.M. Annechino’s third novel, a bold, fast-paced political thriller.

My Thoughts: This fast-paced thriller had some strong points and some weak ones for me. It reminded me of a lighter, much less technical Tom Clancy-like story. The viewpoint shifts between characters and it is up to the reader to put the pieces together. 

The main character is Kate Miles, former Kansas governor and current vice president, who is awakened in the middle of the night to learn that the president has died. Kate has to assume control of the government. She expects to have a difficult time because she and the former president ran as independents. They don't have the support of the Congress or of Washington insiders. Also, Kate is in a marriage that is falling apart around her. Her husband is dissatisfied with Washington life and has turned to alcohol for solace. He decides to go back to Kansas leaving her even more alone and isolated.

When she learns that the former president was poisoned rather than dying of a heart attack, things get even more complex. She chooses the deputy director of the CIA to head the investigation and strings lead to both the director of the CIA and the Congressman that Kate chose as her new vice president.

We also get to spend time in the twisted mind of a white supremacist who has been chosen to assassinate President Miles. We learn that he is part of a large conspiracy based on Hitler's ideals. He is also a murderer who kills a couple who stay in the room next to his at the hotel because he is black and she is white. 

Even more than the political intrigue in Washington is happening. The situation in the Middle East is very volatile with Iraq threatening to invade Israel through Jordan. Kate has to make some tough decisions there too. 
Lots happens in this story. The pace was almost frantic. But we also got to see the essential loneliness and isolation that Kate felt as the new president. Seeing her that way made her a more well-rounded person. Although I did think her relatively sudden decision to have a child seemed to come out of nowhere and wasn't a good solution for her loneliness. Also there were a couple of anachronisms that threw me out of the story at the beginning. Kate is looking around the White House and reflects on the portrait of George Washington done by Rembrandt. Only problem, Rembrandt died at least 60 years before Washington was born. I read an ARC. Hopefully, a different artist will be chosen in the final draft. 
Fans of thrillers will find some things her to enjoy. The surprise ending leaves room for a sequel but the story ties up most of the loose ends and doesn't demand one. 

Favorite Quote:
And so, while she waited for the Joint Chiefs, Kate's ambivalent life unfolded with poignant clarity. To most of the world, she was the president of the most powerful nation on Earth, a woman to be revered for her unprecedented accomplishments. But in her mind's eye, she envisioned herself a childless woman, estranged from a husband she never should have married. 
I received the ARC from the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.

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