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Washington Power Play

Publisher: SelectBooks, Inc.

Washington Power Play by Allan Topol is about a struggle for power initiated by a Chinese spymaster and the lengths to which he will go to implement his plan for "The New World Order."

It revolves around several characters, but specifically Kelly Cameron, a young FBI agent who, after foiling a terrorist plot but killing the terrorist, is placed in charge of a task force on Chinese espionage, which is both a reward and a punishment. If she succeeds, she'll shine, but if she fails, her career is doomed. She is well-backed by Forester, the FBI Director, but coming in as the boss has made a few of the other task force members resentful.

Kelly has some interesting insight, as she dated a Chinese man named Xiang in college and the couple were planning to marry, until he abruptly broke off their relationship after a trip home to China. Fast-forward 15 years and Xiang is the assistant economic attache at the Chinese embassy and heavily embroiled in espionage under the direction and orders of spymaster Liu. Naturally, the pair will once again cross paths, as Liu will specifically order it so Xiang can keep tabs on Kelly's work.

Meanwhile, high-powered Washington attorney Andrew Martin has placed himself in a bit of a pickle; his firm represents the Chinese government, but he's done a few things recently that could get him into really hot water with the US government. What's worse is when he is called to China to meet with Liu, who needs Martin to act as a go between for top secret information. Since they already have dirt on Martin, he'll go along with it, assuming he'll never get caught, but the best laid plans...

When an incident between Japan and China over some tiny, uninhabitable islands causes US President Braddock to pull back and not intervene militarily, General Cartwright, his Joint Chief of Staff, takes the opportunity to disparage the President, thereby casting his hat into the ring for the Republican Presidential nominee. With financial backing from a US industrialist with heavy ties to China and a plan to strengthen America, without alienating China, he just might have a chance as the next US President, but at what cost?

Kelly and her team soon realize that not only is there a high-ranking mole in their midst, but their lives are in danger as well. As they begin to tighten the noose around those who may be involved, it becomes a fight to the finish to protect the US and those they love the most.

Overall, Washington Power Play was just okay to me. The writing is solid enough, but I personally didn't really find the characters relatable or that interesting. While I will admit that the book definitely ramped up in action towards the end, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I enjoy a good espionage story, but some of the rookie mistakes made by the characters in this novel were just a bit ridiculous to me and I had a hard time investing myself into the story. Depending on your level of interest in Chinese espionage, your mileage may vary.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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