Top critical review
Pretty unbelievable (2.5*s)
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2019
In this fantastical story, the author has created a super villain, Nicolas Creel, a megalomaniac businessman who is so powerful and all-knowing that he can manipulate even super-power nations and deflect or eliminate any opposition. But on occasion, such individuals can overstep. Through his “perception management” firm, he creates an artificial conflict between Russia and China to induce them both to sign huge defense contracts. Into this craziness steps a clandestine international security body headed by a mysterious Frank. Frank’s principal operative is the hulking, lethal Shaw of equally vague background.
Shaw is a reluctant warrior, wanting out of the intelligence game, but Frank has a hold on him. But suddenly Shaw has a huge incentive to track down the origins of this PR campaign, because his girlfriend Anna, a brilliant professor, is in harm’s way because of her interest in this situation. Katie James, a prize-winning journalist, but now disgraced due to alcoholism, is given a new opportunity to report on this story. Katie, almost inevitably, finds herself teamed with Shaw in a hair-raising, dangerous journey to get to the bottom of this.
Getting past the mostly ridiculous story concept, it is not without interest, especially the ability to manipulate public perception. The characters, Shaw and Katie, are not particularly compelling.