The Shadow Cabinet by Harol Marshall
Length: Full Length (320 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia
In a top-secret bunker... buried deep beneath FEMA headquarters on Mount Weather, a mysterious doppelgänger organization know as THE SHADOW CABINET prepares for the unthinkable. Secretly appointed by Congress, members of the Continuity of Government initiative prepare to carry on government functions in the event of a catastrophic national emergency. But Shadow President Fred McGuire has other ideas. His unhappiness with the current Administration translates into a cold-blooded plot to overthrow the executive branch and seize control of the White House. McGuire s co-conspirators include high-ranking government officials, a wealthy corporation, and a notorious private military contractor.
Tensions mount when CIA analyst Malcolm Hall stumbles across evidence of the conspiracy, a discovery that costs him his life. Acting on clues Malcolm left behind, Dan Chavez at the National Counterterrorism Center, and Henry Larson, Director of the CIA s National Clandestine Services, begin a secret investigation that extends from Washington to Hawaii and beyond. Determined at all costs to disrupt the planned coup d état by tracking down the homegrown terrorists and preventing high-level assassinations, Dan and Henry place their lives and those of their colleagues in mortal danger.
A person who would seem a powerless cog in the scheme of things uncovers evidence that costs him his life but starts an avalanche of toppled government officials.
This political thriller sends chills and shudders skittering all over the body—goose bumps, prickly hair, and breath-catching moments. The Shadow Cabinet is hard to put down when once started for fear the “bad guys” will get away with their horrible plans if left alone. Of course, trying to separate the “bad guys” from the “good guys” is no easy task—lots of shades of gray between the distinct black and white.
Fred MacGuire and Zachery Browning, both high ranking government officials, crave POWER, making them uneasy co-conspirators. Each has an agenda of his own and needs the other to reach that brass ring each strives for.
Henry Larson is a thorn in MacGuire and Browning’s sides. Henry, directory of Clandestine Services, is not good at sharing information; plus, he seems to march to the beat of a different drum. When Dan Chavez, one of his special agents calls about his friend Malcolm Hall’s death, Henry listens to Dan and Malcolm’s wife. The alarming information prompts Henry to start an investigation. A tiny crack is found in the Shadow Cabinet’s plan and the race to pry that crack open wide to reveal the conspiracy begins AND the reader gets to share the adrenaline-pumping experience vicariously. From Prague to Hawaii and in the hotbed of Washington, D.C. politics, agents manipulate, deceive, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
The Shadow Cabinet is full of alpha personalities that create riveting action. Some secondary characters that keep the action revved up to fever pitch are Alicia Michel and Tom Kerrington in Hawaii. They stir up a deadly fire storm, while Evan and Elena in Prague start something that ends up in the U.S. in a hotbed of lethal secrets and driven megalomaniacs. Seemingly innocuous old Charlie, with his secretive ways adds a new diminish to the plot.
Bjorn Nilsson, boss of the powerful Sigma Services, a para-military contract group, is known for hiring out to the highest bidder with no concern for moral issues. His group is made up of people with proven military skills. They have the best equipment available and operate with few restraints imposed on them. With big corporate money to finance their deal with the Shadow Cabinet, they become a threat to be reckoned with.
Dead bodies mount up, assassination plans race along and evidence of moles in the system, putting even the best of agents on edge. Tension, fears, and suspense keeps one turning pages and about the time it looks like the “good guys” have thing under control, sleepers in powerful places reveal plans that send shock waves rippling—could it really happen?
Harol Marshall weaves together a multitude of intriguing characters ranging from the quiet, reclusive computer operator to some of the most powerful people in government. She weaves sub-plots into the major plot and keeps the reader enthralled with actions that seem shockingly real. The format she uses keeps the reader tuned in to both protagonist and antagonist activities while showing the inmost desires of both major and minor characters. The foreshadowing, clues, and hints she sprinkles in along the way make THE SHADOW CABINET spine-tingling. Ms. Marshall has created a political thriller that comes alive like today’s news, making one hope the “good guys” keep winning.
An intense, compelling read!