Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key
Author: Steve Berry
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date:05/17/2011
ISBN: 0345505514

Unlike the previous books in the Cotton Malone series, this book doesn't have him jetting off to any far off & exotic location. No, much of this book takes place in the United States, which gave me sort of a thrill. While I love reading about distant places, it's fun to finally read about places that I've actually seen with my own eyes.

Four United States presidents have been assassinated—in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963—each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.

But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution—contained within Article 1, Section 8—that would shock Americans?

This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure. When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing—only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas. Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough—thanks to that clause in the Constitution—to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

Much like the previous books, however, the action is still very much present & accounted for. It's incredibly fast paced, which worked well for the storyline as well as with the constant shifts in narration. The "forgotten treasure" in question (documents written by the Founding Fathers) is incredibly intriguing in that unlike some of the other things Malone has tried to track down, these were known to exist. I can't write more without spoiling it, but it's a bit of a change from previous plot elements.

Unfortunately I know that there will be some people who are going to be unhappy that the continuous shifts in narration continue in this book. The shifts are easier to read & cleaner than in some of the prior novels, so I found that they didn't really bother me all that much. (I'd been irritated by this in previous novels.)

All in all, this was an excellent book. Maybe it's that part of the action happens in locations I'm familiar with; maybe it's that the subject matter is pretty cool. Either way, I loved this entry in the Cotton Malone series & I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book Berry puts out.

4 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Amazon Vine)

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