Power Play by Tony Kent #BookReview #BlogTour

When a plane explodes over the Atlantic Ocean, killing hundreds of passengers, including controversial US presidential candidate Dale Victor, it appears to be a clear-cut case of terrorism. The suspect has even confessed to the bombing. But as criminal barrister Michael Devlin is about to discover, everything is not as it seems.

Also suspecting there are other forces at work, intelligence agent Joe Dempsey is driven to investigate. Who would have wanted Victor out of the way – and would commit mass murder to do it? As the evidence begins to mount, everything seems to point to the US government itself, all the way to the top. And now someone is determined to stop Dempsey and Devlin from discovering the truth. At any cost.
With countless more lives on the line, Dempsey must find a way to prove who’s pulling the strings, and free the White House from the deadly grip that has taken hold of power.

I'm thrilled to be opening the blog tour for Power Play today, huge thanks to Tony Kent, Elliot & Thompson and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

The explosive beginning to Power Play which sees Flight PA16 from London to New York blown up over the Atlantic Ocean killing five hundred and thirty-four people on board  - including probable presidential candidate, Dale Victor - immediately announces that this is not going to be a slow-burner. Unsurprisingly, the tragedy is soon assumed to be an act of terrorism (particularly as an explosion at altitude is unlikely to be anything other than a bomb) but as the story unfolds it becomes clear that the truth is even more disturbing.
This is the third book in the Dempsey and Devlin series but the first I have read; it can easily be enjoyed as a standalone, however, and any minor spoilers from the previous novels definitely won't stop me from reading them - and that's something I'm planning to do because I absolutely loved this complex, riveting thriller. Now and again when I'm reading some books there comes a wonderful moment where although I'm fully immersed in the story, I can't help but pause to appreciate just how much I'm enjoying it and I experienced that with Power Play. 
Arguably, one of the most insidious consequences of terrorism is the way in which world leaders and governments are able to change the narrative to suit their intentions but what if they engineer atrocities to remove individuals who are threatening to ask difficult questions? It's a disturbing premise and as the book progresses and shocking revelations come to light, perhaps the most frightening aspect is that it's all only too plausible. It's certainly something Joe Dempsey has to consider as he discovers that the real reason for bringing down a plane might be to hide an inconvenient truth rather than to further any extremist cause.
Although the death of Dale Victor may implicate the White House, Power Play is set in various locations reflecting our global connections as it entangles the two protagonists, Dempsey and Devlin on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. Joe Dempsey is in New York working with agents around the world as part of the International Security Bureau, a multi-national intelligence agency formed by the UN and when Elizabeth Kirk, Director of the ISB asks him to make some enquiries into the attack, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous - even life-changing - investigation. Meanwhile, in London Michael Devlin is called to represent the Syrian immigrant who has admitted to planting the bomb on the doomed aeroplane.
One of the many strengths of Power Play is that the multiple narrative strands means readers are allowed glimpses of the full story without the truth being revealed until late into the book. Whether through the chapters featuring Mansour, the alleged Islamic terrorist or the secretive White House meetings, this clever, intricately plotted novel brilliantly examines a number of  uncomfortable yet important issues; the racism and Islamophobia which exists in our political and legal institutions; the increasingly powerful big businesses who are able to interfere with political agendas; and the rising spectre of fake news used to build  - or destroy  - careers. 
At  over 500 pages, this isn't a short book but not a word is wasted in a dark and twisted plot which includes war crimes, alleged terrorism and corruption at the very highest level. The breathtaking action scenes may have kept my heart pounding but it's the scarily believable suggestion that not all is as we may perceive it to be which proves to be the most sinister element of the novel. Most of the action is centred on Dempsey's involvement and his scenes are packed with fast-paced, high octane thrills but Devlin has his moments too - the global reach of the antagonists here means nobody is safe. Although their respective backgrounds mean they approach dangerous situations differently - Dempsey is a highly trained and skilled operative whereas Devlin is an instinctive street-fighter, the pair are both deeply affected by their pasts and the brutal violence they have borne witness to  - and participated in. Devlin's fear for his loved ones and Dempsey's guilty regret for some of his past actions perceptively underlines the deep psychological impact of their experiences.
Power Play is everything I was hoping for and more; this compelling political thriller is packed with twists and turns and is brilliantly plotted, edge-of-the-seat exciting and sharply insightful throughout. I loved it and cannot recommend it highly enough, it is easily one of my favourite reads of the year.

Power Play will published by Elliot and Thompson on 16th April 2020 and can be purchased from Amazon, Waterstones and Hive but please support our wonderful independent bookstores and place an order with one of them if you can.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

You can also join the Facebook online launch for Power Play on 16th April from 8:30pm (UK)  - there will be giveaways too, including the chance to win £250 to spend at the wonderful Goldsboro Books

About the Author

Tony Kent is a 40-year-old criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to inspire and bring unusual accuracy to his thrillers. Long ranked as a ‘leader in his field’, Tony has prosecuted and defended the full range of criminal trials. He now specialises in the defence of serious crimes such as murder, kidnap, armed robbery, extortion and high-value fraud. A regular at London’s Old Bailey, Tony’s case history includes many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles.


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