Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ★★★★★
Ethan Reichenbach is the lead agent in the President-Elect’s Secret Service detail. He expects to spend the next four or eight years being shadowing the man just elected to live in the White House. What he did not expect is to become the new President’s friend. Nor did he expect to develop a crush on the man in the first few months after they move to Washington. Doing so would break so many Secret Service rules and would be grounds for dismissal. Not to mention that the President is straight. This breaks Ethan’s personal rules of never getting involved in a relationship and never falling for a straight man.
Jack Spiers has spent the fifteen years since his wife’s death in combat in public service. Focusing on veterans and their families, he has held several posts in Washington. Having been elected President should be the pinnacle of his career. But having lost his wife a long time ago, Jack finds the office lonely. He turns to his lead Secret Service agent for friendship, which Ethan is hesitant to give at first. However, as their friendship develops, Jack is surprised when one night Ethan kisses him. To say that Jack is surprised would be an understatement. As the two put distance between them, Jack still wants Ethan to be his friend. But Jack begins to realize that he has feelings for Ethan as well. He wants to find a way to make this work.
Against this backdrop, Jack is still President. He must deal with a world that has basically gone to hell in a handbasket the last ten years. With China and Russia both occupying countries and the Islamic Caliphate causing trouble both in the Middle East and around the world through terror attacks, Jack has his hands full. However, the real trouble might be right under Jack’s nose. An American general is working with agents in the Middle East to bring about even more instability to a region already at war. As Jack works toward bringing peace to the world, there are others who are trying to insure that he does not succeed. Ethan must work to protect the man who is not only the President but also his lover.
In order for a political thriller to work, the premise behind the book must work. Set approximately 10-30 years in the future, Enemies of the State describes a world that could possibly exist at that time. The Islamic Caliphate (ISIS/ISIL) has grown bolder with the passage of time, as has Russia with their land grabs. The English, French and Germans are battle weary after numerous terrorist attacks. Into this world, Jack must try to bring all sides together to prevent the start of World War III.
The other part of a good political thriller is the romance. I loved the slow building romance between Ethan and Jack. Ethan, the gay Secret Service agent, knows that a relationship with Jack is wrong on so many levels. But are the signals the President is sending him real? Jack is alone in the White House and needs a friend. What could be wrong with that? They begin to learn about each other as they work through their own problems with this relationship. I look forward to see where the next book goes with both this relationship and the various subplots that are left unresolved.
The cover art by Aria Tan shows Ethan and Jack above the Washington skyline. It is a fitting cover for the book.
ebook, 324 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by NineStar Press
Series: The Executive
Enemies of the State (The Executive #1)