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Pen & Ink



Emergency Powers is the third installment in James McCrone’s Imogen Trager series. A shadow network has been working for years to arrange and move the pieces on the board to ensure an ideologically-bound America comes to fruition. The game is afoot, the players set in motion, and the fate of the country hangs in the balance.

The novel picks up soon after the close of the previous story. Imogen has been deemed the FBI’s problem child and relegated to the sidelines in the guise of a promotion. The Faithless Elector investigation has been curtailed, but as the President’s death—a death that is certainly a murder—is the opening segue of the story, Imogen and her cohorts know the dark network they have been scrambling to unmask is still at work.

McCrone has written a large cast, but each character’s role is tightly woven into the momentum of the story. The characters are familiar from the previous books, and the events and tragedies that have occurred have left their mark. The emotions are authentic: Imogen struggles with bitterness and resentment, FBI Agent Amanda Vega worries about her friend, Professor Duncan Calder grapples with the malleable nature of justice, Frank Reed knows his time is running out before the very organization he helped build decides he is a liability.

The writing style is crisp and straightforward, keeping the pace moving swiftly. The mystery is tautly plotted, and from the first page to the last, the reader is gripped by the layered unfolding of events. The corruption of politics, the machinations of those behind the scenes, the movement of money, and the far-reaching impact of a select few players makes for a read that feels ripped from the headlines. 

McCrone’s writing is insightful and astute. The bureaucratic coup he details on the page is disturbingly timely and prescient. Brilliantly executed and eerily plausible, Emergency Powers is a chess match of a political thriller.

Highly recommended for fans of intelligent thrillers revolving around politics

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