Keys to the Kingdom

Bob Graham, Author
Bob Graham. Perseus/Vanguard, $25.99 (314p) ISBN 978-1-59315-660-2
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Senator Graham's distinguished record of public service and unquestioned expertise on national security matters may not be tarnished by this subpar suspense novel, but it certainly won't be enhanced. In a fictional 2008, retired U.S. senator John Billington, Graham's alter ego, publishes a provocative opinion piece in the New York Times suggesting that the Saudis may be working on a nuclear weapon. Billington reaches out to brilliant, two-fisted Cuban-American Tony Ramos, an analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to pursue his thesis. Soon after receiving death threats, Billington is killed by a hit-and-run driver while on a walk near his Florida home. The suspicious death leads Ramos on an international race against time to thwart an al-Qaeda mega-attack. Stilted language ("The approving smile and tilt of the head indicated the senator was intrigued with Tony's athletic grace and presence"), illogical developments, and gratuitous sex scenes add up to a book that makes Clancy look like le Carré. (June)
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