A review of the political thriller, By A Thread, by Neil Badders
Could this happen? Terrorists take out the president and vice president of the United States. Meddling by cabinet members and manipulation of the Supreme Court result in the elevation of the Secretary of Defense to the presidency, bypassing the rightful successor, the Speaker of the House. Rioting and martial law ensue. Can the country be saved? Exactly who is the enemy?
In a well-honed, tension-filled 312 pages, author Marty Beaudet makes a case for vigilance. Not only does the scenario seem plausible, his work of fiction should stand as a cautionary tale of the fragility of our democracy, shout out a warning signal to all Americans that we should never take our rights for granted. As Beaudet adds layer on layer to the story, it’s like a punch in the gut. I kept thinking, this could really happen.
The key to uncovering the terrorist plot lies in the hands of naive Mormon Missionary, Kevin Davis, who is recruited by the CIA in Austria to befriend a Kuwaiti, Jassim al-Shammari. Al-Shammari may have the answers the CIA needs to protect an America under attack from the outside and from within. The coordinates of Kevin’s moral compass are tested as his friendship with and feelings for al-Shammari grow. Is Jassim devil or savior? Kevin’s realization that he might be falling in love is heartwarming and heartbreaking, his inner turmoil tangible and believable.
“By a Thread” has the ring of authenticity—It’s obvious that Beaudet has done his homework when it comes to Mormon customs and culture, to the finer points of our Constitution, in the descriptions of exotic locales such as Vienna and Munich. Most importantly, he understands that love is transcendent.
In a addition to being featured in the Broadway national touring companies of “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Evita, “Fiddler on the Roof, Mame, and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Neil Badders is also a published playwright, and has been a political reporter and theater critic. He is currently working on his book, “Let’s Get This Show On The Road”. His essays can be found in his blog, Dreams in a Drawer, on LiveJournal.com.