Book - In Sheep's Clothing

Never one to follow the flock, Steve Taylor-Bryant reads In Sheep's Clothing by L D Beyer...

Caught in a game of chess he didn’t know he was playing until it was too late, the President makes the only move he can, plunging Washington and the nation into chaos. Stunned and reeling, Vice President David Kendall takes the oath of office and tries to heal a nation in mourning. But what the new president doesn’t realise is that things in the White House aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes what looks like the best option may turn out to be the worst. When one fatal decision triggers consequences he never envisioned, President Kendall finds himself caught up in the same game that cost his predecessor his life.

Although there was nothing he could have done, Secret Service Agent Matthew Richter is haunted by the death of the man he had vowed to protect. When his girlfriend dumps him and his boss tells him that his job is on the line, he thinks his life cannot get any worse. He soon realises how wrong he is when he finds himself fighting to save another president from the deadly forces that he has unwittingly unleashed. 

There's often a debate about whether film is better than a book. Some adaptations work well, others not so much. If I was reviewing In Sheep's Clothing, the movie, I'd have to slate it, we've seen it all before, generic action flick, blah blah blah. But I'm reviewing In Sheep's Clothing, the book, and the book is so good! When you read L.D. Beyer's debut Matthew Richter novel you'll get what I mean about the movie analogy. It's In The Line of Fire meets Air Force One but, as words on a page, Beyer hits every mark that needs hitting. The plot is familiar, yes, but never have I seen such good research into how the major plot point might happen. The level of detail in Secret Service operations, rescue missions, aircraft manoeuvres and the Presidential plane is stunning and would be worth the read on their own but Beyer tops all that with his deep and rich characters. The villains are truly bad, driven by power and greed, their flaws as interesting as their mission to take over the reigns of power. In Richter there is a hero to root for. You want him to succeed and, with every page turn, my heart beat got faster as I read Richter and his plan to escape his situation with everyone intact. The peripheral characters were well placed too and drove the narrative when a lesser writer may have lost his story and I for one hope to read the second instalment soon (it is teased at the end of this book).

Action can be hard to get right in a novel, political intrigue even more difficult. Beyer has managed both with aplomb, mixing an almost Brad Meltzer level of writing with a true Hollywood film style. Brilliant.

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