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(reviewed by Dani Alexis Ryskamp for www.AuthorExposure.com)
In "Keys to the Kingdom", Senator Bob Graham, a former member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and two-time Florida governor, spins a tale of suspense. Pulling from its author’s years of experience in dealing with national security issues, it asks fictional questions that could be all too real.
"Keys to the Kingdom" opens just days before fictional Florida senator emeritus John Billington is murdered in a hit-and-run accident in his hometown. As a member of the 9/11 Inquiry Commission, Billington has just had an op-ed published in the New York Times in which he questions the “official” version of the events leading up to the tragedies of September 11, 2001 and calls for greater inquiry into the behaviors of certain foreign powers, including questionable financial transactions among several national powers and the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Billington’s death leaves behind a host of confused but determined characters who must carry on without his guidance, including his former aide and State Department intelligence analyst Tony Ramos and Billington’s eldest daughter, renowned political photographer Laura Billington. Before long, Ramos and others in the U.S. government discover that al-Qaeda, with help from Saudi-connected forces unknown, has obtained a live nuclear weapon—and has plans to detonate it in the Pacific waters off California.
As a former Washington political leader whose work dealt with national intelligence and the author of Intelligence Matters, a non-fiction work on national intelligence topics published in 2004, Senator Graham is in a unique position to include the sort of details that make political thrillers like Keys to the Kingdom exciting. Senator Graham does not disappoint. While his characters are less well-rounded than they could be, they are nevertheless believable individuals who find themselves facing the relentless force of events beyond their control and must dredge up the personal courage and necessary cooperation to prevent a national disaster. "Keys to the Kingdom" is a fast-paced read perfect for a long afternoon—the only hard part is putting it down.