Monday, April 20, 2015

Guest Review: The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry


Guest Review – The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is why Americans pay income taxes. But what if there were problems associated with that amendment? Secrets that call into question decades of tax collecting? In fact, there is a surprising truth to this hidden possibility.

Cotton Malone, once a member of an elite intelligence division within the Justice Department known as the Magellan Billet, is now retired and owns an old bookshop in Denmark. But when his former-boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks him to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files—the kind that could bring the United States to its knees—Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.

With appearances by Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, a curious painting that still hangs in the National Gallery of Art, and some eye-opening revelations from the $1 bill, this riveting, non-stop adventure is trademark Steve Berry—90% historical fact, 10% exciting speculation—a provocative thriller posing a dangerous question.

What if the Federal income tax is illegal?

Cheryl’s review:

Last year I reviewed The Lincoln Myth ( and was happy to have the opportunity to review Steve Berry’s latest, The Patriot Threat.

Cotton Malone is one of my favorite recurring characters in a book and The Patriot Threat doesn’t disappoint. Berry writes with a mix of a history lesson and fast-paced action. As his third Malone book with the United States as the starting point, he creates a realistic conspiracy incorporating historical figures and politics. Reading this in April during tax season made it especially speculative: “What if the Federal income tax is illegal?”

Although I enjoy all Berry’s books, this one was particularly fun. I couldn’t help but imagine what the country would be like if the Federal income tax was illegal. I’m familiar with Andrew Mellon’s financial legacy, but I didn’t know when or how it came about. Secret conversations, blackmail, and deception related to a President’s decisions also make you wonder what may have happened in past administrations.

I always appreciate the depth of historical research Berry does. Starting with the facts, he creates a realistic and though far-fetched, a believable conspiracy. As an archivist and historian, I also enjoy when his characters do archival research or visit archives. His explanations at the end of the book are worth reading to sort through the fiction from fact. While reading the story it can be hard to tell the difference, which is what makes the book good. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

Thank you, Cheryl!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child