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Inside Threat by Matthew Quirk

16/04/2024
Inside Threat by Matthew Quirk

Sometimes the best way to describe a work of art is in terms of other similar works. In the case of Matthew Quirk’s latest thriller, the easiest way to sum it is as Die-Hard-in-a-bunker-crossed-with-Air-Force-One. If that is what you are up for – a President in danger, a protagonist who has something to prove, plenty of gun play and explosions in enclosed spaces, crawling through ducts, double crossing at every turn – then Inside Threat absolutely ticks all the boxes.

Inside Threat opens with an assassination attempt in the White House. Disgraced former presidential secret service agent Eric Hill has been demoted to desk duty but cannot help himself when he sees things starting to go South. Similarly, rookie agent Amber Cody, the daughter of Hill’s old partner who died in the line of duty, throws herself into the fray and gets herself noticed. So both are taken along when the President and his retinue decamp to the apparent safety of Raven Rock, a (real) underground bunker complex built during the Cold War deep enough in a mountain to withstand a nuclear blast. Only once they arrive they find themselves not only locked in but under assault from turncoat agents who have been led to believe that the President has been taking out his political opponents.

The rest plays out exactly as can be expected from a thriller of this type. Things start off grey but slowly both Hill, Cody and the reader learn who to trust (which does not prevent a couple of heel turns late in the game). And as they do, both the danger and the stakes increase. Quirk keeps the tension high as the body count mounts and various structures are blown up. That said, Inside Agent can also be read as a cautionary tale about fake news and the weaponisation of false information. In that respect it has a solid, and in some ways post-January 6, believable premise for a political thriller.

Quirk is probably best known now for his book The Night Agent, turned into a bingeable if reasonably forgettable series on Netflix. That story also revolved around an agent trying to live up to the image of his father and evil doings at the heart of the White House. So Quirk has form, he knows the rules of this type of thriller and deploys them effectively, ensuring readers are too caught up in the latest firefight or explosion to worry too much about plot or motive.

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Inside Threat by Matthew Quirk

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Inside Threat by Matthew Quirk

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