As part of a blog tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, I jumped at the chance to read Ronald Barak’s latest thriller- The Puppet Master. The Puppet Master is a prequel to The Amendment Killer, an excellent novel, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing when it was released (click here to read that review).
What would YOU do if they took everything you had, your family, your home, your business, your dignity, even—perhaps—your sanity? Ronald S. Barak’s latest, The Puppet Master, prequel to The Amendment Killer, and the second in the Brooks/Lotello Thriller Series, is a gripping story of a political system gone awry—and those who feel compelled to fix it. “Have you ever killed anyone? I have. I’ll do it again. If I need to.” Three prominent political leaders in Washington, D.C., murdered in as many days.
Not a plausible story premise? What about the real world villain who recently mailed a series of pipe bombs to a number of prominent political figures? Ripped from the headlines? Barak gives new meaning to the word “timely.” The Puppet Master isn’t ripped from the headlines; written first, it forecast the headlines that followed!
The Puppet Master begins with a bang. Literally. Three of them. Not a page wasted. Capitol Hill panics. Who will be next? Others whisper that our political leaders are only getting what they deserve. Anxious to see who will be next. And why.
Crafty D.C. homicide detective Frank Lotello is tasked to find the killer. Cliff Norman, a local businessman with ample motive, is arrested. Politicians breathe a sigh of relief. However, when Lotello discovers a disturbing White House connection, he suspects Norman may not be what he appears to be. Things may not be what they appear to be.
Norman’s trial commences in the courtroom of savvy D.C. trial court judge Cyrus Brooks. An angry nation rallies behind Norman. The jury debates whether Norman’s actions may be legally justified by a rampant abuse of political trust, and threatens to unravel the very fabric of our dysfunctional government.
In an unprecedented and questionable manner that may destroy their respective careers, Lotello quietly approaches Brooks and they form a secret alliance to uncover the truth in this classic whodunnit mystery. Before it’s too late.
Blurring fiction and reality, The Puppet Master will have you dangling from the first page to the very last.
You can view the book trailer at: https://youtu.be/J9aV5pMUKC8.
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KVQ8FMQ
- Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-puppet-master/id1456050192
- B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-puppet-master-ronald-s-barak/1130005295?ean=2940156509393
- Google: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-puppet-master-19
I enjoyed following Detective Lotello as he persists in investigating the murder of three high-profile politicans – despite the confession of a bitter, broken man with a grudge. The story is told from alternating points of view in short chapters, giving you a sense of what each of the players is going through and their deliberations, yet without being too confusing to follow. Both Lotello and Judge Brooks are great characters – human and relatable.
The story is engaging and well-paced, while raising controversial questions regarding the potential for broader application of the justifiable homicide defense in the courts – when does it become reasonable to take the law into your own hands? Definitely thought-provoking stuff.
A well-written choice for fans of political thrillers and police procedurals.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.
Giveaway and More
Follow the tour for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and enter the Thriller Junkies giveaway for your chance to win an e-book copy of the Puppet Master and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
About the Author
Described by his readers as a cross between Agatha Christie, Lee Child, and John Lescroart, bestselling author Ron Barak keeps his readers flipping the pages into the wee hours of the night. While he mostly lets his characters tell his stories, he does manage to get his licks in too.
Barak derives great satisfaction in knowing that his books not only entertain but also stimulate others to think about how things might be, how people can actually resolve real-world problems. In particular, Barak tackles the country’s dysfunctional government representatives—not just back-seat driving criticism for the sake of being a back-seat driver, but truly framing practical remedies to the political abuse and corruption adversely affecting too many people’s lives today. Barak’s extensive legal background and insight allow him to cleverly cross-pollenate his fiction and today’s sad state of political reality.
In his latest novel, THE AMENDMENT KILLER, Barak calls upon his real world legal ingenuity and skill to craft a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution criminalizing political abuse and corruption that Constitutional scholars across the country are heralding as a highly plausible answer to the political chaos destroying the very moral fiber of the country today. It’s difficult to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not imagine what could—and should—be expected and demanded of those political leaders who have forgotten they are there to serve and not be served.
Barak is also a committed and strident advocate of finding a cure for diabetes. One of the primary characters in THE AMENDMENT KILLER is the feisty and precocious 11-year-old diabetic granddaughter of the Supreme Court justice holding the swing vote in a case in which Congress is challenging the validity of Barak’s hypothetical 28th Amendment. It is no small coincidence that Barak is himself a diabetic. Or that he has committed 50% of the net proceeds of THE AMENDMENT KILLER to diabetes research and education.
Barak is singularly qualified to have authored THE AMENDMENT KILLER, which will appeal to political and legal thriller aficionados alike. Barak is a law school honors graduate and a former Olympic athlete. While still in law school, he authored a bill introduced in Congress that overnight forced the settlement of a decades long dispute between the NCAA and the AAU to control amateur athletics in the United States.
Present-day politicians would do well to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not underestimate the potential of Barak’s 28th Amendment. You can read his 28th Amendment at ronaldsbarak.com/28th-amendment-page-2. You can also read his occasional political blogs at ronaldsbarak.com/blog.
Ron and his wife, Barbie, and the four-legged members of their family reside in Pacific Palisades, California.