Source: Review copy
Publication: 4 August 2022 (this edition)
My thanks to Elliott & Thompson for an advance copy for review
A plane explodes over the Atlantic Ocean, killing hundreds of passengers, including controversial US presidential candidate Dale Victor. It appears to be a clear-cut case of terrorism. But as criminal barrister Michael Devlin is about to discover, everything is not as it seems.
Also suspecting there are shady forces at work, intelligence agent Joe Dempsey is driven to investigate. Who would have wanted this potential new president out of the way – and who would commit mass murder to do it?
All the way to the top of the US government, someone is determined to stop Dempsey and Devlin from discovering the truth. At any cost.
I love this series and somehow managed to miss this latest instalment when it originally came out during lockdown. So I am delighted that the publishers have updated the cover and issued a brand new edition, because this is a political thriller spanning continents that I just loved and which earns every single one of its five stars.
If you haven’t come across Dempsey and Devlin before, I urge you to do so soonest. They are an unusual but very exciting pairing. Joe Dempsey works for the UN’s security services in the States; Michael Devlin is a London based criminal barrister.
Power Play starts with an explosive opener and does not let up thereafter. Tony Kent writes fast and furious thrillers without stinting on his characterisation. This book has more of Joe Dempsey in the forefront but it is Michael Devlin we start with as a terrorist explosion rips apart the democracy of the United States of America.
A bomb has gone off on a plane killing all 534 passengers on board, including presidential candidate, Dale Victor. It seems unquestionable that this is a terrorist attack, originating in London, and though they can scarcely believe it themselves, the police have a suspect in custody remarkably quickly.
Nizar Mansour is a baggage handler at Heathrow and he confesses to placing the bomb almost as soon as he arrives at the Police Station. But something isn’t right. DCI Bruce Bull, a counter-terrorism expert, can feel it as soon as he meets the Syrian. He also knows that he doesn’t have long before the Americans stride in and demand control of this case. So he does what his instincts tell him to do; he gets Nizar the best criminal representation he can in the form of Glaswegian solicitor, Will Duffy, who, in turn, instructs criminal barrister, Michael Devlin. And just in the nick of time, because FBI Agent Romeo Myer turns up expecting to remove their suspect and extradite him without so much as a piece of paper.
Meanwhile, in New York, Joe Dempsey’s boss, UN International Security boss, Elizabeth Kirk is formulating her own theories but she has to be very careful; there are few people to whom she can voice her suspicions. Fortunately Dempsey is one of them. And as Joe Dempsey begins his investigative trail it isn’t long before he finds himself the target of some seriously dangerous people. Someone wants to keep their secrets and they are prepared to kill anyone who gets in the way of that.
Tony Kent has written a taut, thrilling, novel with a number of excellent characters and some seriously inventive, twisty moments. His main characters are well developed and we can empathise with them as we have by now come to know them quite well. These are characters you care about and their relationships develop and change as the series progresses.
Crossing continents, Kent takes us on an explosive, thrilling journey which reaches to the very core of the US democratic system and as we have come to learn only too well, what might once have seemed plausible only in the pages of a novel now seems scarily plausible.
Verdict: Power Play is both thrilling and exciting. It races along, keeping the reader gripped and breathless as revelations come at them fast and furiously. It’s a complex thriller told well and it offers a serious look at how independence of thought can be the target for those who seek to control the levers of power. Power Play is big on conspiracy, but as we know, that doesn’t make it less likely to be true. Altogether it is a fascinating, explosive and gripping read.
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Tony Kent is a thriller writer who also happens to be a top criminal barrister and a former heavyweight boxing champion, and he draws on that unique legal and physical experience to bring a striking authenticity to the fast-paced, high-octane and action packed books set in his ‘Killer Intent universe’: Killer Intent, Marked for Death, Power Play and No Way To Die. Prior to embarking on his legal career Tony was a successful boxer, competing internationally and winning a host of national titles, only retiring when he discovered that black eyes and missing teeth did not sit well next to his wig and gown. Once he quit fighting himself, Tony began to train white collar boxers and ultimately founded the country’s most successful white collar charity boxing event – The Floats Like A Butterfly Ball – which to date has raised over £1,000,000 for Caudwell Children. He lives just outside of London with his wife Victoria, their young son Joseph and Jack Russell terrier Maximus.