There is a narcissistic psychopath within the White Home, and a pair of secret brokers realizes he is about to destroy the nation. That is the premise of the newest thriller by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois, “Blowback” (Little, Brown and Firm).
Learn an excerpt under.
Like another presidents earlier than him — Nixon and Trump, for instance — President Barrett does not prefer to work from the downstairs Oval Workplace. The day after his inauguration final 12 months, in a sit-down with editors and reporters from the Washington bureau of the New York Instances, he had mentioned, “An excessive amount of historical past in that place. It feels such as you’re in the midst of a museum exhibit. I need to have the ability to relax, put my ft on the furnishings, and get work accomplished with out being interrupted all of the goddamn time.”
President Barrett is sitting behind an outdated picket desk that was supposedly utilized by President Harding. He will get up from the neatly piled folders and phone financial institution and briskly walks over to Liam.
That is when the CIA officer notes he and the president aren’t alone within the small, wood-paneled room.
On one among two small blue couches organized round a picket espresso desk is a girl about Liam’s age, sitting nonetheless and looking out good. She’s carrying a two-piece black swimsuit — slacks and jacket — with an ivory shirt. Her light-olive complexion is framed by black hair that’s lower and styled shut.
She stares at him with dark-brown eyes, and President Barrett says, “I imagine you realize one another.”
Liam nods, smiles. “Noa Himel. We have been in the identical coaching class.”
She will get up, provides a hand, and says, “Glad you remembered me. My hair was longer again then.”
He takes her grip, agency and heat, and says, “I remembered you outrunning my ass on the impediment course.”
She smiles, sits down. “It is not referred to as that anymore. It is the arrogance enhancement course.”
Together with his trademark excellent smile, President Barrett says, “I hate to interrupt this firm reunion, however we have got work to do. Liam, sit down subsequent to Noa.”
Liam goes over and does so, catching a slight whiff of her fragrance. It is good. The workplace is small, with bookcases, a few framed Frederic Remington western prints, and never a lot else. The PDB feels heavy in his lap, and the president says, “Liam, you may put that apart for now. We have got extra vital issues to debate.”
“Sure, sir,” he says, now confused, as he places the leather-bound quantity down on the espresso desk. The PDB has been practically sacred because the period of President John F. Kennedy, when it was often known as the President’s Intelligence Guidelines. Since then it has expanded and grown in significance, and it is now thought-about probably the most extremely categorized and vital piece of intelligence the president receives frequently. Some presidents needed the briefings each day, others weekly, and over the last a number of administrations, it was ready on a safe laptop pill, however this president — sitting throughout from him and Noa, carrying dark-gray slacks and a blue Oxford shirt with the collar undone and sleeves rolled up, his pores and skin tanned and thick brown hair fastidiously trimmed — demanded it return to paper.
And now he is ignoring it.
Liam thinks possibly he ought to say one thing, however …
Liam is CIA but additionally former Military, and he is within the presence of the commander in chief, so he retains his mouth shut.
The president says, “Fast query for you each, and one reply apiece. Who’re probably the most harmful non-state actors we face as a nation? Noa, you are up.”
Noa crisply says, “Cyber.”
She says, “We have gone past the purpose the place hackers and bots can exit and affect an election or steal financial institution accounts or maintain a metropolis’s software program ransom. They’ll flip off the facility, swap off the web, and incite folks in a rustic to stand up in opposition to a supposed enemy. You generally is a First World nation within the morning, however after the cyberattack you generally is a Third World nation come sunset.”
The president nods. “Precisely. Liam?”
With Noa going earlier than him, he has just a few seconds to suppose it by and says, “Freelance terrorist cells and organizations. They’re going to preach their ideology or twisted view of their faith whereas they’re killing folks and blowing up issues, however secretly they’re on the market to the best bidder. They preach an excellent sermon, however in actuality they’re nihilists. They’re going to strike anyplace and anyone for the correct worth.”
“Good solutions,” the president says. “Which is why I’ve referred to as you each in right here as we speak.”
“Sir?” Liam asks. He is unsure the place the hell that is going, however his preliminary impression of his handsome sofa mate, Noa, is optimistic. She gave a neat, thorough reply to the president’s risk query. He has the odd hope that Noa has an identical feeling about his personal reply.
The president clasps his arms collectively and leans over the espresso desk.
“After many years of our being the world’s punching bag, I’ve determined this administration is not going to be reactive anymore,” he says. “We will be proactive, go after our enemies earlier than they strike. We’re not going to be the sufferer. I will arrange two CIA groups, one home, the opposite international, and also you two are going to run them. I will provide the authorization to interrupt issues, kill dangerous guys, and produce again our enemies’ heads in a cooler.”
From “Blowback” by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois. Copyright © 2022 by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Firm. All rights reserved.
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