The Devil’s Handshake
In The Devil’s Handshake, Michael Reagan mixes a political thriller with a spy novel and packs it with facts about the new cold war between the US and Russia. The novel follows Thomas Litchfield, former British Special Forces officer, through three decades. As the owner of a large national resources company, Litchfield finds that the world of businessmen is just as vicious as that on the battlefield. His most recent deal in Africa catches the attention of Russia and eventually Thomas is put under surveillance by multiple foreign intelligence agencies. Throughout this 30-year tale, Thomas becomes involved with many political and personal issues. His adventures take him to places like Iraq and Turkmenistan, where he saves Nara, a young woman who later becomes his wife.
This book is filled with action, which gradually increases throughout the novel. The Devil’s Handshake is also a goldmine of facts about current political situations, as well as military and political terms and lingo. If you like fact-based political thrillers, this book is for you, though the presentation of facts can become overwhelming; it was hard to focus on the story when so many facts were being presented. However, the amount of action and relational issues kept me reading toward the end. Once I made it past the prologue, I was drawn in significantly.
The Devil’s Handshake is the first in a proposed series, which I would like to see Reagan should take on. There are enough gaps in the story and threads that remain to be tied. Reagan leaves readers on a more positive note, but with enough tension to be left wanting more.
The strength of Reagan’s book is found in the characters. They were realistic and their emotions could easily be felt. Reagan skillfully pulled me into the character’s situations and emotions and made me feel like I was a part of their journey.
The downside of The Devil’s Handshake is the writing itself. Reagan knows his stuff. He is politically aware and in tune with the emotions of his characters. However, he lacks grammatical strength. Simple things like comas were missing. Exclamation marks were overused and caps lock seemed unnecessary in many places. It was hard to focus on how good the story was when the writing itself was sloppy. If you are a reader who struggles to ignore grammatical and punctuation errors, this book will prove frustrating.
Ultimately, I think the book just needs a better editor. I can see that it has fabulous potential, and I would recommend it to friends and family who enjoy political thrillers and authors like Tom Clancy. The intricate, multi-layer plot holds the makings of a movie-worthy epic.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller