April 4, 2020

Review: The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Out this coming April.

Ready for political intrigue?

This week, we break tradition a bit from our usual review of science and science fiction books to journey back into the tie-dyed era of the early 1960s and a murder mystery that takes the reader into the darkened recesses of Washington politics.

We’re talking about author Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s latest thriller The Enemy Within, out next month from WMG Publishing. Readers of this site will know that we’re no strangers to the science fiction epics produced by Rusch, including tales from her Diving Into the Wreck universe including Skirmishes, Boneyards, and City of Ruins as well as the Sci-Fi thrillers Snipers, and Blowback.

But Rusch is far more than just a science fiction writer, having penned novels in virtually every conceivable genre including romance, mystery and much more.

In the Enemy Within, the reader follows detective Seamus O’Reilly as he gets called in on a pair of murders in the back alley of a squalid Washington D.C. nightclub. But what starts as a routine murder investigation quickly becomes a matter of grave importance as the identity of the murder victims becomes known: none other than FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and his assistant Clyde Tyson.

With the assassination of President John F. Kennedy just the year before still fresh in everyone’s mind, O’Reilly realizes what the release of secrets that Hoover held over everyone in Washington D.C. would mean. A meticulous records keeper and the virtual inventor of the FBI’s modern day national database and archive, Hoover managed to badger and otherwise intimate people in political power for many decades, through the Communist red scare of the 1950s right up through the Vietnam War and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. In our world, the liaisons of Hoover and the secrets he kept on those in power didn’t come to light until well after his death from a heart attack in 1972. Just how would his death have rocked the balance of political power in the early 1960’s?

Rusch expertly guides us through this interesting and intriguing political scenario.  To solve the murders, O’Reilly must team up with FBI Agent Frank Bryce. A large shadowy crime syndicate organization is implicated, and many familiar – and obscure – pieces of the puzzle between the murders of Hoover and Kennedy as well as the life Lee Harvey Oswald’s own murderer, Jack Ruby begin  to surface.

Rusch weaves a convincing alternate history tale of “what ifs” that interlaces with our own history of those troubled times. O’Reilly and Bryce soon discover that uncovering the links between the three murders may well incur the wrath of sitting President Lyndon B. Johnson and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy,  all of whom have good reason to want to keep Hoover’s secret files from ever seeing the light of day.

Be sure to read Kristine Kathryn’s Rusch’s latest thriller The Enemy Within for non-stop political intrigue!

Next week: Lines of longitude, loxodromes, Mercator projections and more… the non-stop action continues with a fascinating look at the secret history of the world of map making with A History of the World in 12 Maps!

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