3 out of 4 stars
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Jack Bryant is back in the second installment of the Jack Bryant series by Larry D. Thompson, a political crime thriller that delves into the dreaded topic of dark money - the elusive higher power of politics. After a harrowing Halloween fundraiser shootout, Jack Bryant rushes to the defense of his Desert Storm friend and saviour, Walt. What seemed to be a clear-cut assassination soon turns into a giant conspiracy, revealing the sinister underbelly of the political underworld.
Dark Money captured my attention because of the heated topic of dark money. If you don’t know (as I didn’t), dark money is currency donated to non-profit organizations. This money is then most often spent on influencing elections. Because donors don’t have to disclose their identities, it allows these ‘generous’ donors to frequently play puppet master’s in governments.
Dark Money delves into this hidden world at a fast pace and with clear writing that makes it easy to keep up with everything that is happening. Dark Money spans a couple of months and unravels layer upon layer of political intrigue. I loved that just when I thought it was the end, another layer of the conspiracy is revealed.
Although there wasn’t much in the way of character development, except for Walt who suffers from PTSD, it didn’t hinder my reading or the story's development. It allowed the storyline to run smooth and focused more on the action and the courtrooms than the characters.
I also enjoyed the realistic feel to the court systems and the police and authorities proceedings. There were no flashy, crazy moves but instead Dark Money relied on a slower but smarter story. It maintained the realistic flow and while it wasn’t rife with tension it did capture my attention and managed to hold onto it.
My only complaint would have to be the awkward feel of technology in Dark Money. Every bit of technology was explained in detail. There was even an instance where a character said, “I booked us two rooms in La Quinta with my iPhone.” This isn’t a major problem and doesn’t happen too much but at times it made me feel like I was reading a tech catalogue instead of a book.
Dark Money is professionally edited, and I encountered no critical errors. Regrettably, there were missed quotation marks scattered throughout the text and commas were misplaced or intermittently used instead of full stops.
Taking everything into consideration, I rate Dark Money 3 out of 4 stars. The story was entertaining and intriguing, and I enjoyed the realistic feel. I recommend Dark Money to those looking for a good political crime thriller.
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