Title: Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office: Book Two)
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 287 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Suspense/Thriller
At a Glance: Read this book. Lose yourself in this series. It’s an outstanding read.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Fifteen years from now, an affair rocks the world.
Two men commit to their impossible love.
One general is determined to destroy them both.
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…
Review: Ok. First things first. That prologue, tho…Oh my god. My immediate thoughts were ‘Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into?’ and ‘This is so crazy and badass, I need to read faster.’ Tal Bauer immediately sets the tone in Enemy of My Enemy, the second book in his Executive Office series, and lets us know that this book is no joke. We are dealing with not just a rogue general on an ego trip, but with brutal killers, and a group with an agenda that is so diabolical you can’t even imagine. Being inside Madigan’s head, or anyone associated with him, is terrifying. So, yeah…Buckle up right from the start for this one, folks!
Ethan Reichenbach has officially retired from the Secret Service, and has moved into the White House with President Jack Spiers, as First Gentleman. The public announcement of their new living arrangement and status is met with mixed reviews. Many people do openly support them, but many others are either lukewarm, or openly and vehemently denounce what President Spiers is doing. In this book Jack and Ethan deal with a lot of adversity regarding their relationship, the worst of which is probably the ‘news’ story about Ethan’s promiscuous past. However, though it’s more than a bit rocky at times, their love remains steadfast. I love these two together SO much. Bauer writes their romance so, so beautifully.
Meanwhile, tensions aren’t limited to just the White House, or the United States. Ex-General Porter Madigan remains at large, and Ethan is reminded of the offer former CIA Director, now White House Chief of Staff, Lawrence Irwin made him—to be involved in the hunt for Madigan. Irwin asks Ethan to head up an off-the-books covert strike team, tasked solely with tracking down and taking out this global threat. Ethan, of course, accepts, and contacts Lt. Adam Cooper, head of the team that rescued Ethan in Ethiopia. Super heavy gig… But, this line killed me:
Though, this wasn’t what he’d thought being the first gentleman would be. From florists to state dinners to clandestine kill missions.
Ha! But, speaking of state dinners and florists…Ethan’s new staff in the East Wing is fantastic. Barbara, Jennifer, Brandt…They all really take a shine to Ethan, and I love how seriously they take their job and working for him and the president. Barbara taking the time to show Ethan the many, many bins of cards and letters that were flooding in, in support of his relationship with Jack, as well as how she decides to display the cards was so lovely.
Things are also less than calm for Russian President Sergey Puchkov. On top of dodging almost-daily assassination attempts, he is still one hundred percent in support of Jack and Ethan, and committed to working with the U.S. to fight the Caliphate and whatever chaos Madigan is planning. But, that’s not even all Sergey is dealing with. Puchkov’s personal doctor discovered a severely injured man slumped outside the Kremlin, and nursed him back to health. The man turns out to be Sasha Andreyev, a Russian Air Force pilot who was brutally beaten by his fellow pilots for being gay. Sasha soon becomes Sergey’s personal aid, and they grow closer and closer as they are put through the paces of the current hostile political climate along with Jack and Ethan.
I have a couple of favorite scenes in the book… First, there is a scene where Adam’s crew is closing in on Madigan. They’ve found a makeshift camp/market in the middle of the Sahara packed with insurgents, rebels, and escaped prisoners; this scene was SO scary. The only thing I could think while I was reading was “This so needs to be made into a movie!” My heart was pounding, and my eyes were bugging out of my head. Bauer’s imagery here, and throughout the book, is so fantastic. He puts you right there, in that camp. Also, the description of these special ops guys, and what being on these missions entails…This passage totally rocked me:
Adam nudged his camel forward and wrapped his keffiyeh around his face again, covering all but his eyes. He, like his men, wore layers of loose cotton robes, muted shades of desert sand and mud brick tan, interspersed with pops of blue and black. Beneath all of their robes, their black combat uniforms had been sterilized. No rank, no country insignia, and no names. The only identification any of the men carried was a strip of duct tape with their blood type written in marker and wrapped around the radio receiver strapped to their chests.
Second, and this was possibly my very favorite, there is an attack on Faisal’s summer palace, and we see the aftermath of that incident in the book. In the scene, a gravely injured Faisal makes a call to Adam, and I’m telling you guys, the writing in this short scene is completely fantastic. It was so rich, and intense, and emotional; I honestly could picture it in my mind. And, it gutted me.
Annnnnnnnnd that’s basically all I can say! Pretty much every other thing I could tell you about this book would have to classify as a spoiler. Heh. Seriously, though, so much crazy stuff goes on. Some craaaaazy stuff happens in Sochi, that I can’t even talk a tiny bit about. Ethan uncovers a huge part of Madigan’s strategy and game plan—in fact, throughout the book, they slowwwwly start to piece together what Madigan’s end game is. We’re still dealing with at least one more traitor, and it’s once again someone in the inner circle. There is an ambush at Sergey’s retreat that is just ALSDFJSLKJFDKALJF!! And, then, everyone is racing to save the world, and desperately trying to stay alive! But, somehow Madigan is always ten steps ahead of them.
Through this entire book you will find yourself screaming “How?!?!?” in your head—or, out loud, if you’re a nut like me—but all I can think is, the next book is called Enemy Within. I think we’re gonna find out ‘how’. I just hope that somehow in the process things wind up with the fiery death of Madigan. I know readers will be with me on that. 😉
So, once again, Tal Bauer has wowed me with his knack for writing a great thriller. And for writing unforgettable characters, whether they be characters we love, or characters we hate. On the love side, aside from the MCs—and I have to say that my love for Faisal and Adam is steadily growing—there are Scott and Levi, who I continue to love like crazy, and I adored Doc. Pete Reyes, the White House press secretary, is also so spunky and awesome. It’s not only the action scenes that Bauer excels at, though. He writes some of the most beautifully romantic and emotional scenes I’ve read recently, as well. And, when he nails it, he nails it. There is a scene with Scott’s wife and daughter that will punch you right in the feels. And, the love between Jack and Ethan is still the nucleus of the book. It’s the stuff of legends.
I realize this is now the longest review evarrr, so I’ll wrap it up very simply: Read this book. Lose yourself in this series. It’s an outstanding read.
You can buy Enemy of My Enemy here: