Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: John Solo
Length: 18 hours, 12 minutes
President Jack Spiers and Ethan Reichenbach have publicly committed to one another and Ethan has left his job in the Secret Service and is living in the White House with Jack as First Gentleman. It is a big change for both men. In Jack’s case, he has only recently come out and not everyone is thrilled to see the President in a relationship with another man. While his friendship with Russian President Sergey Puchkov means they remain allies, he is getting pushback both from other nations and within his own party. For Ethan, he is suddenly having to adjust to a totally different life, one that puts him in the spotlight in a way he never experienced in the Secret Service. He has gone from protecting the president to overseeing a White House staff. But the men are also deeply in love and their connection is only growing.
The country still faces a threat from General Madigan, however, and despite all their efforts, no one has been able to track him down. Madigan appears to be gathering an army, breaking men out of prison and building a group of loyal fighters who see the United States as an enemy. No one knows Madigan’s end game, but it is clear he must be captured. Ethan is tasked to lead an elite unite, led by Lieutenant Adam Cooper, whose job it is to find Madigan and neutralize him through whatever means necessary. Despite the efforts of Adam and his team, however, Madigan remains elusive. When he begins to put his plans into action, the fate of Jack and Ethan’s relationship, as well as the safety of the world, will be at risk.
Enemy of My Enemy is the second book in Tal Bauer’s fabulous Executive Office series. It picks up soon after the end of Enemies of the State and the books are best read in order. This is a thrilling, highly suspenseful series and this story kept me completely captivated. Bauer manages multiple storylines at once, with threads focused on Ethan and Jack’s relationship, events happening in Russia, Adam’s team searching for Madigan, and Madigan himself. All of these develop and then slowly coalesce, bringing the story together with so much intensity and excitement. Truly, there are some shocking moments here (and at least twice I messaged Michelle, who reviewed the ebooks for us, freaking out about what was happening). Bauer just excels at creating high octane stories with so many moving parts. It is amazing how all the pieces come together and I was breathless by the end of this one.
The main focus outside of the suspense side of things is Jack and Ethan’s relationship. I just love them together. They are so desperately in love, and Bauer really makes the emotion between them shine through. I loved the early moments where we see them settling into life in the White House together. They are finally able to be with one another and learning to live as a couple, rather than in secret or separate cities. These guys are just so intensely romantic together, and those moments where one of them is threatened really showcases how strongly they feel about each other. Either man would risk everything for the other and it is just so rewarding. Not to say that there aren’t some hurdles; the men definitely go through a rough time during part of the story. But by the end, things come together so well and I just adore them.
We also get a chance to learn more about Adam Cooper and his relationship with Prince Faisel of Saudi Arabia. We are teased just a bit in the last book as to their connection, but here we learn much more about their past and see them together, and they are kind of dreamy as well. Adam is in such pain, knowing he has no choice but to hide his relationship with Faisel, given he is a U.S. Marine in love with a Saudi royal. But things do move forward so nicely between them and the way they look out for and care about one another is super sweet. We also get to see just the very start of a relationship for Sergey, as well (which ultimately becomes the focus in the spin-off Executive Power series). So there is a lot of romance happening here to balance out the intense suspense.
While I loved pretty much everything about this book, my one quibble is that there is a scene where things are laid out way too patly in order to provide the background of Madigan’s plan. The way the bad guys leave the evidence of what they are up to all just lying around in such incredible detail seemed very unlikely given the meticulous way they have acted prior to this point and the fact that they are always 10 steps ahead of those hunting them. It just felt like a bit of an easy out so that the story could catch everyone up on what was going on. There is also a huge reveal here that some are going to find crazy. Given the setting of the story, and the fact that it all ties together so well, I could go with it no problem. But I think there may be some who find it too far fetched.
I listened to this book in audio format with narrator John Solo. I think overall Solo does a nice job with the book and he feels very much like Jack and Ethan in my head. He tends to have a dramatic style, but I think for the most part it works well with this type of high suspense story. The main character voices carried over nicely from the first book and everyone was easy to differentiate. My biggest issue with the first story was that Solo’s accents just didn’t work for me, particularly the Russian and Chinese leaders, but here I think he handles them a little better. I still am not sure they are perfectly on point, but they worked well enough not to be distracting the way they were in the first book. I think this is a solid narration and I really enjoyed the audiobook.
I finished this story dying to get started on book three, Enemy Within. This book does tie up a number of things, but it also very much leads into the next story and sets things up for the next stage of the fight with Madigan. I found this one incredibly thrilling, as well as a super romantic story, and I can’t wait for more.