Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Review: The Cabal (Powell Book 6) by Bill Ward

A Direct Style that Delivers on Action and Characters?  This Book Does!

Do you like straight talk in your novels?  The Cabal has it.  People aren’t pierced by a projectile; they’re shot.  Their life force doesn’t ebb from their body; they bleed.  It’s a great style for action, and the Cabal has that too.  From the opening scene in which a businessman is assassinated in Singapore to the finale when Powell is trapped in his office by the same man, the action comes steadily, relentlessly.  Yes, there’s a bit of romance, some humor, and a few clever nods to politics in both the US and the UK that round out the story, but action is at the heart.

The ruthless Chairman gets top billing as the villain, but he is not the only obstacle Powell has to face.  The unwitting pawn of the Chairman, the husband of the woman Powell is protecting presents his own challenges.  And very soon, Ward paints him as a man easy to hate.  I did.  The abused woman, Rose, on the other hand lacks the self-esteem necessary to pull herself from this man, further complicating Powell’s mission and making me feel both pity for her and frustration – someone drag her out of there.  But the fact that these characters elicited so much emotion testifies to how skillfully Ward uses his writing style.  I didn’t necessarily expect that.

There were a few plot weaknesses in the book.  For example, the letter that implicated the husband’s involvement was in the un-emptied recycle bin on his computer.  Seems a bit amateurish for someone involved with terrorism.  As another example, Powell makes Rose dispose of her phone, but let’s her kids keep theirs.  And he keeps his.  Avoiding phones seems pretty basic, if you want to stay off the grid.  But such issues are minor in the context of the story.

Overall, The Cabal delivered action while giving me more fully developed characters than I expected.  It’s a fun, fast read well worth your time.

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