Tal Bauer writes political suspense romance like he’s personally directing the reader’s experience
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
No words. I need more stars and I have the world’s biggest book hangover ever.
Reading Secret Service was like watching an episode of 24 (the TV show with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer 😎) as it covers – in the main narrative – a period of less than 24 hours in the lives of the US President and his Secret Service Agent In Charge/lover while also offering glimpses into the past.
We get to see their relationship already established in the opening Chapter and are then given its development in key moments which tie in to what’s going on in the main part of the story.
And OMG what a story it is. The Blurb gives you some idea, I won’t be offering any insight into what this is about because it works as you read and the plot unfolds in all its twists, turns and outright WTF moments.
It’s also scarily prescient, it was written previously to the events of February 2022 when Russian troops invaded Ukraine, but that’s what forms the intricate element of Tal’s sequential revelations.
You are caught up instantaneously in the lives of Brennan Walker and Reese Theriot as they break all the rules by falling in love. Theirs is a slow burn romance, Reese has never been attracted to a man before, Brennan hid his sexuality two decades earlier as he started down the road to the Oval Office.
I know I’ve said it before in previous reviews of Tal’s political thrillers, but he has some insane insider knowledge! I’d love to know what branch of the alphabet agencies he served with because I’m sure he must have 😂
The detailing within this novel is incredible, you feel Brennan’s pressure in the role of President, the fears of being discovered in a relationship not only with a man but with the man charged to protect him. Reese is torn by his devotion to duty, his unwavering devotion to the role of President but also the man in that spot.
There’re so many times you think you’ve got a handle on what’s going on before the thread veers off somewhere totally unexpected. Some things are exactly as they seem, others you’re blindsided by, although I will say I had half guessed one of the villains almost from the off but the impact of it still punched me in the gut when it was confirmed.
I cannot rave about this book enough. Previously to this, Tal’s Executive Office series was top of my list for my favourite political thriller, but he’s just kicked it off the first place with Brennan and Reese and those that surround them.
This book is unputdownable. I read it in one go, not stopping to do anything else until I’d devoured it.
I’m seriously hoping there will be another book coming in this series which features one of the best side characters and total cinnamon buns ever to deserve a happy ending. I’ll leave you to work out who that is when you read it!
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review