Presidential Power


Fiction - Thriller - Political
545 Pages
Reviewed on 02/08/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Presidential Power by John Ford Clayton is a political thriller and the second book in the Manipulated series. Clayton's novel is set in the aftermath of a fictional presidential election in the United States without a clear winner. Per the structure of the Constitution, a Republican Senate votes to install Mitch McCoy over outlander Elijah Mustang as leader of the free world. It's not very long before the inadequacies of a McCoy presidency become clear and the rising of Mustang's supporters as he sojourns outside the States is gaining real momentum. The Mustang Movement is in full swing. But the players of Washington are and always have been attached to the strings of master puppeteers, and nothing is coincidental. This has never been more true than when the machinations of a former VP candidate, Victor Youngblood, begin to unfold and bear fruit from the deepest, darkest, strongest of roots.

Frank Underwood meets Thomas Kirkman meets Captain Planet are the first three dichotomies that come to mind as I decompress from John Ford Clayton's Presidential Power. This is a book worthy of a screenplay. I did not read book one, Manipulated, but Clayton doesn't miss a step in bringing a new reader into the post-election fold. The writing is good and the plot is sound, but Clayton's strength is in the development of characters. Youngblood was the standout for me just because I love a great evil genius and he is at the pinnacle of depravity. The undercurrent of political spycraft and manipulation is deliciously drawn out and is complemented by more than a few lightning bolt revelations that make for great, unexpected twists. Balancing out the more intense scenes where murder and mayhem take over the menu are moments of true levity and funny dialogue, some of which are laugh-out-loud. My favorite is when a seemingly stereotypical country bumpkin named Bubba berates one of Mustang's crew for his “toxic masculinity.” This also shows Clayton's skilled hand at bucking tropes and elevates an already engrossing novel to the next level. Very highly recommended.