The Devil's Bed

The Devil's Bed - William Kent Krueger This may have been Krueger's attempt to create an alternate series - it features not his usual hero, Cork O'Connor, but a secret agent named Bo Thorsen, in service to the White House. However, if so, it didn't take off, and on the whole I'm glad the author stuck with O'Connor. The secret halls of power are just a less enthralling milieu in his hands than the woods of the northern states.

That said, I enjoyed this for Krueger's usual virtues: nicely delineated characters, the primacy of personal over political motivations, deep secrets rising from the murky past. His fictional First Family, though set it the roughly-present do, I think, have a whiff of the Kennedys, although I may just be seeing it because I have also been reading a biography of JFK, Jr. In any case, the President is young and fit, and the First Lady glamorous and controlled, and both have powerful elderly political relatives.

There is an assassin with a genuine grudge against Kate's (the First Lady's) family, including her, but who has nursed it into a genuine mania; there are flashbacks to nasty secret doings in tropical jungles, and betrayals all round, but the bulk of the action actually takes place in and around a hospital in the States, and the nearby estate of the First Lady's father, who is a former VP, and is subjected to two nearly-successful assassination attempts by David Moses. Thorsen gets to have a bit of a long-standing crush on Kate, but he's not as developed a protagonist as O'Connor (perhaps that would have come with subsequent adventures), though he has an interesting background as a troubled youth.

Worth the time.