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POWER PLAY
by Gavin Esler
Harper, April 2010
448 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 000727811X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

If Alex Price, 'our man' in Washington, thought that inviting unpopular vice-president, Bobby Black, on a visit to Scotland for a shooting party was going to result in a thawing of relations between the UK and the US, he was wrong. Bobby Black goes missing on the moors, plunging the White House into turmoil, and it looks like the death knell has just been sounded for Price's career, already suffering due to his estrangement from his wife, who just happens to be the sister of the British prime minister.

Black is missing and a constitutional crisis looks imminent. When some clues to Black's kidnapping are eventually discovered the situation starts to look bleak. Within a short space of time, it events turn even bleaker, but nothing is ever quite what it seems in this book and Esler does a very good job of keeping the reader guessing through numerous twists and turns. he also does a good job of explaining the constitutional ramifications of a vice-president missing presumed dead, but not yet declared dead in a book that manages not to get bogged down in too much political detail, while providing enough information to allow the reader to understand the depth of the problems facing the US President.

I liked the plot. It moves along at a reasonable pace and never becomes impenetrable, unlike many in this genre. The characters were, in some cases, fairly recognizable from the world stage, but stayed just on the right side of caricature, which isn't an easy job when dealing with politicians on either side of the Atlantic.

Esler's writing style is interesting. It slips easily between the first person narrative of Alex Price, the unfortunate diplomat who was very much left holding the metaphorical baby and an outside viewpoint that is in part a retelling of events from Price's perspective interspersed with an omniscient narrator's view of events. I tried to pick holes in this when I became aware of what Esler was doing, but actually and somewhat to my surprise he does pull it off, and all credit to him for managing to sustain a difficult trick. I actually found the style far more fluid than many of the alternating first-person, third-person narratives that seem to be in fashion at the moment. I finished the book in almost one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, August 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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