Second Term
September 21, 2023

Book Review

Second Term

As the world still remembers January 6, 2021, J.M. Adams pens a debut thriller that is sure to turn heads and provide much conversation. Adams balances the tension of another political meltdown with a strong protagonist who will stop at nothing to keep her country together. Cora Walker is sure to leave an impression on many with this piece that extrapolates the happenings of January 6th with an equally ruthless dictator who veils his formidable destruction of democracy as a rally for truth.

Cora Walker finds herself as an integral part of the DIA in September 2012, where there are whispers of a Libyan attack in Benghazi. She is keen to protect the ambassador and keep a terror plot from coming to fruition. Her superiors scoff at her intel and mention that she has an overactive imagination. Cora refuses to stand down and decides to defy her superiors by preparing for an attack, working with fellow operative, Deacon Lobdell, to build a defense. When terrorist attack on the morning of September 11, Cora and her team barely escape alive as they counter the attack that she forecasted. Benghazi will be a political hot potato for years thereafter, with Cora Walker knowing the truth.

Fast-forward to 2028, Cora has taken a role as press secretary for the Speaking of the House of Representatives. She’s ready for most anything and has seen America scrape the bottom of the barrel during the January 6, 2021 insurrection on the Capitol. She’s a single mom to a young girl and refuses to let her daughter see a country that unstable again.

However, after a hard-fought election, lame duck President Terry Locke refuses to accept the results of the election, determined to show that, yet again, there are attempts to mute the people’s choice. As President Locke plans a rally to allow people to express their concerns, many see it as a new version of the 2021 mess. With Cora trying to preemptively block things, she is met with much resistance, especially since the president has turned all the intelligence agencies into his own personal soldiers.

As Cora reaches out to now Congressman Deacon Lobdell, who has long been a close confidante to the president, she will try to protect the Speaker and keep the Capitol from disintegrating once again. Cora and Congressman Lobdell agree something must be done, working covertly and off the grid. It appears that things are much worse than they were in 2021, with the people ready to kill in order to ensure their view of democracy is upheld.

As the Capitol turns into mayhem, Cora works to stay one step ahead of the worst rioters, sure that her life could be taken at any moment. Those toting guns and other weapons spout that this is in hopes of saving democracy and the republic, while hunting down Democrats like jackals. When martial law is declared and President Locke vows to ‘protect the country’ by extending his leadership for four additional years, Cora Walker knows that she will need to make the ultimate choice to bring some form of peaceful solution. With Congressman Lobdell running his own plan, there is sure to be blood running in the streets, where many have died for their beliefs. A chilling piece that reflects much of what came to fruition in 2021. J.M. Adams dazzles in this debut thriller.

I love a good political thriller, particularly when it parallels highly-realistic events. J.M. Adams has done it here, mirroring the January 6th Capitol Insurrection in this piece that projects ahead another 8 years. With a strong narrative, Adams weaves together a thriller that pushes what the world knows about American democracy and takes it even further. With a strong collection of key characters, the story flows well and has a multiple perspectives to show views from all sides. The various plot lines emerge as things get more intense, allowing the reader to see the depths of despair that could follow when democracy is shelved.

While all of this works well, I struggled at times to see how Adams would derive his own storyline, rather than creating a “Jan. 6th 2.0”. As the story progressed, things moved from copycat to the next level, with power concentrated entirely in a ruthless dictator and plans to suspend democratic ideals. With a number of references to 2021, this book developed a uniqueness that left me chilled to the bone as Adams pushed the envelope further and left little doubt to the chaos that could arise, should control be left in the hands of a politician drunk on absolute power.

Kudos, Mr. Adams, for this chaotic look into what might have been. I hope you have more Cora Walker to come!

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