Review by Booklist Review
A powerful North Korean a (fictional) son of former dictator Kim Jong-il plots to destroy America. His weapon: highly classified, incendiary U.S. Treasury Department files that he has recently acquired through, shall we say, violently improper channels. And even though it strains credibility just a bit, only Cotton Malone, the retired intelligence operative, can stop the madman. The latest Malone thriller offers the usual ingredients: likable hero, despicable villain, plenty of action, and a story that draws on a historical mystery and conspiracy. Here, Berry tackles a subject that is much debated by a small segment of the American population even today, the notion that the American federal income tax system might be illegal. Keep in mind, please, that this is a novel, not a treatise, and Berry can have his characters say and do whatever he likes. That said, he presents a plausible if wildly unlikely scenario, plausible enough that we realize Cotton Malone isn't just trying to stop a madman he's trying to save the U.S. A solid entry in an entertaining and wildly successful series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With 19 million copies sold, Berry's high-concept thrillers have proved irresistible to readers in 51 countries and across 40 languages. His latest will leave the starting blocks with a 400,000-copy announced market distribution.--Pitt, David Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Berry comes up with a highly unusual premise for his 10th Cotton Malone thriller (after 2014's The Lincoln Myth): a historical flaw in the U.S. income tax code has the potential to destroy the country's economy. In Berry's timely what-if scenario, North Korean leader Kim Yong Jin has been dropped from the line of dynastic succession because of a disgraceful abortive trip to Tokyo Disneyland. Kim, now known as a playboy, sees an opportunity to regain his former glory when he stumbles on a 1936 mystery involving then secretary of the treasury Andrew Mellon and president Franklin Roosevelt. Kim's accidental but fortuitous reading of a book about the American tax code, The Patriot Threat, written by tax resister Anan Wayne Howell, puts him on the path of the mystery, which he, along with his warrior daughter, Hana, are determined to solve, no matter how many people they have to kill to do so. Fans of political conspiracy fiction will find plenty to like. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
What if our federal income tax was illegal? Such is the premise around which Berry's tenth Cotton Malone thriller (after The Lincoln Myth) is based. Malone, retired from the Magellan Billet, a special elite unit of the Justice Department, has once again been lured out of retirement to assist in recovering sensitive Treasury Department documents that were stolen by a renegade North Korean. Malone is hot on the trail of Kim Yong Jin, whose agenda is not only to bring the United States to its knees but to overthrow the current leader of North Korea. Documents revealing that the 16th Amendment, which granted Congress authority to establish an income tax, is potentially illegal are at the center of a powerful tug of war that leads from Washington, DC, to Italy to the highlands of Croatia. Cameo appearances by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Andrew Mellon establish the historical background of the secret that could destroy America. VERDICT Berry's fans will not be disappointed as he delivers his usual fast-paced and complex story line, highlighted by his hero's superhuman ability to overcome any obstacle and chase the bad guys to the ends of the earth. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]-Sandra Knowles, South Carolina State Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
During the Great Depression, former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon gave President Franklin Delano Roosevelt a marked dollar bill and a cryptic note. The puzzle contained in those items now forces retired intelligence agent Cotton Malone to save the world economy. Berry (The Lincoln Myth, 2014, etc.) yanks Malone out of his Copenhagen bookstore and sends him to Venice to shoot at a helicopter. The chopper crashes. Twenty million dollars go up in smokemoney from a scheme to fill the coffers of North Korea's Dear Leader. Stephanie Nelle, chief of the Magellan Billetthe U.S. Justice Department's elite intelligence grouphad dispatched Malone to foil that caper, but he's soon immersed in a scheme engineered by "self-absorbed, egotistical, and maniacal" Kim Yong Jin, the Dear Leader's exiled half brother. That rogue is hunting U.S. tax protestor Anan Wayne Howell, who supposedly possesses evidence that the American income tax isn't valid because "the 16th Amendment was illegal all along." There's more: evidence that descendants of Haym Salomon are owed multiple billions for loans made to finance the American Revolution. "Bringing the United States to its knees would not be easy, but it also no longer seemed impossible" now that the long-secreted material has been uncovered by a disgruntled Treasury bureaucrat and given to Howell. The most interesting character is Hana Sung, Kim's illegitimate daughter, who spent her childhood in a North Korean gulag, living in filth, starved and beaten. Action is frantic, major characters are static, but Malone joins forces with serious-minded Treasury agent Isabella Schaeferan evolving player sure to appear in upcoming Magellan superspy adventuresin shoot-'em-ups from Venice to the wilds of Croatia. Another page-turning thriller blending history, speculation and fast-paced action. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.