27 Days by Patrick H. Moore, a fast-paced political thriller where a private investigator faces off against a powerful alt-right domestic terrorist organization. Read my full review.
27 Days Synopsis
Nick Crane Thriller #1
27 Days is a taut and topical political thriller narrated in laconic noir fashion by veteran LA PI Nick Crane. In the spring of 2019, Nick is on the run in the Pacific Northwest, pursued by a cabal of wealthy right-wing power brokers and domestic terrorists (the Principals) led by Marguerite Ferguson and Desmond Cole. Nick has clashed with Marguerite and her crew in the past, and she wants him abducted so that she can personally “close his eyes forever.”
Things get worse. Nick’s close friend and business partner Bobby Moore is kidnapped by Marguerite and the Principals. Nick is then informed that he has twenty-seven days to surrender to Marguerite. If he does not turn himself in, Bobby will be sent to Scorpion prison in Egypt to be tortured and murdered. If Nick surrenders, however, Bobby will be released.
Help appears in the form of a young, idealistic female FBI agent named Carrie North who wants to arrest Marguerite for conspiring to commit domestic terrorist operations against the United States. Nick and Carrie join forces and the race against time to rescue Bobby Moore begins.
And what a race it is! Marguerite and company are the toughest foes Nick has ever faced and he must dig down deeper than ever before to have any chance of surviving.
Down & Out Books (2023)
Patrick H. Moore | Pub Date Feb 6, 2023 | ISBN 9781643962986 | 360 pages
Patrick H. Moore’s 27 Days, his Nick Crane series debut, is a political thriller that plies a well-worn trope familiar to cable news consumers. The alt-right, democracy’s existential threat. Well, one of the many, at least. It might surprise you that the trope is well worn since we hear and read about the alt-right almost non-stop in inflated terms daily in the national media. But the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center claim that the term “alt-right,” an abbreviation of alternative right, was coined by Richard B. Spencer in 2008 as part of a “shallow re-branding” of white nationalism is wrong.
I happened to catch an episode of The Rockford Files (1974-1980) recently, an episode (1977) that included a Neo-Nazi, swastika-wearing white supremacy group that a character in the episode referred to as… you guessed it… an alt-right group. So, a writer for the entertaining, and very popular in its day private investigator television series probably deserves the credit for coining the term “alt-right.” Or maybe it existed long before 1977 and the writer, like Spencer and dull politicians, probably only borrowed it. But alt-right is back in the news today, mostly because one party in our, for all intents and purposes, binary political system finds it a useful pejorative cudgel to use on their political opponents.
Returning to Moore’s book after our non-revisionist history lesson, there is nothing wrong with the author choosing a mythical and exaggeratedly large and powerful alt-right group as his antagonist since what we once referred to without laughter as “journalists” do the same thing every day. I’m more of a fan of political fiction that casts Neo-con, rogue government officials running off the books, illegal assassination programs and political cover-ups in the antagonist role. It’s more realistic. But Moore’s choice of antagonists works well enough here.
When the story opens, Nick Crane, a Los Angeles private investigator, is on the run from the sinister alt-right group, MASA, particularly its leader, a psychopathic woman named Marguerite, who had recently almost succeeded in assassinating him. But some bad guys find his hideout and close in, precipitating a shoot out and forcing Crane to go on the run with the aid of an ally he isn’t sure he can trust. But when the group abducts his P.I. agency partner, Bobby Moore, and demands Crane surrender to them or else, he realizes keeping his head down and staying out of harm’s way isn’t a viable option. He must give battle to MASA, rescue Bobby Moore, and try to take down the leaders of the group. So, he assembles some allies to do just that.
27 Days takes off like a bullet train and by the time I reached the halfway point, I didn’t think Moore could sustain the blistering pace. But he proved me wrong. Things in Nick Crane’s world move at breakneck speed and in highly dramatic fashion. As mentioned, Nick Crane is a L. A. private investigator by trade, but you can forget about the Philip Marlowe and Jake J.J. Gittes archetypes. The technology savvy Crane seems an amalgamation of a modern-day Lew Wickersham (Mannix, S1), Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, and James Reece. He has all the skills. I admit I found the character a little fantastical at the beginning, but he grew on me as the story unfolded.
Strengths of this novel lie in the pacing and plotting, and how easily Moore keeps us guessing what Crane’s next move will be and what will happen next. There are twists and turns and surprises enough to keep the reader engaged throughout. I also enjoyed the neo-noir, first person style of the narrative, complete with short punchy sentences.
It’s no secret that I’m more a fan of crime thrillers than political thrillers. As a cynical apolitical person who sees clearly our two political parties as only the opposite sides of the same binary self-serving, corrupt wooden nickel and someone who has traveled the world enough to understand all governments on the planet are run by corrupt and self-serving politicians, political-based fiction doesn’t enthrall me. But I enjoyed this book, mostly because of the non-stop action and there was some crime involved. And good is good. I’ll certainly be interested in reading the next installment in the series. And I think many thriller enthusiasts would enjoy reading this book, though it probably skews more to the fans of political thrillers.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.
Book rating: ★★★★★