The President’s Shadow (Culper Ring #3), by Brad Meltzer

Five stars (of five)

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Brad Meltzer, and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

Meltzer returns from his novel-writing hiatus with another gem! Beecher White is still working as an archivist within the National Archives, home to some of the country’s most prized possessions and deepest secrets. He also remains the newest a member of the Culper Ring, a secret group whose primary purpose, to protect the office of the presidency at any cost. The Ring dates back to George Washington and influence has not waned in over 200 years. When a severed arms appears buried in the Rose Garden, the President calls upon Beecher to help, in his capacity as a Ring member, in hopes of finding the person behind this high-security breech. Working through some of the preliminaries, Beecher discovers that this is highly personal, as a clue left at the scene ties specifically to his dead father’s military unit. After an altercation with Beecher reveals an important clue, Ezra Young becomes the man wanted for the mysterious body parts. Ezra remains elusive to authorities at all levels, known only by his white eyelashes. Young has also made it his mission to bring down the Ring at any cost, reviving its old rival, the Knights of the Golden Circle. Beecher works to uncover the Knights and determine their next move, just as another severed limb turns up at Camp David. The chase is on, taking the investigation to Devil’s Island, off the Florida Coast. The Island was once used to detain those behind the Lincoln assassination and, more recently, where Beecher’s father, Albi, is presumed to have died. As things reach their boiling point, Beecher faces Ezra and another nemesis from his past, Nico Hadrian, a psychopathic killer who served in Albi’s military unit. Nico is on his own mission, to punish those who ran experiments on his military unit three decades earlier, told in a highly informative set of flashbacks. With the stakes high for all involved, Devil’s Island could gain additional notoriety, if anyone makes it off alive! This is a fast-paced and stellar novel, sure to bring long-time fans flocking back for another political thriller.

After a longer than usual gap in his adult writing, Meltzer picks up where he left off with gusto! The content is gripping and the action does not let up, leaving the reader stunned at numerous points. Meltzer has long been a master at weaving the political into his novels and does not let up, layering it with obscure historical anecdotes that inform as much as entertain. Meltzer utilises his masterful character development, interesting plots, and sensational pacing to develop a novel that reminds his fans why he is so beloved. There is nothing quite like a Meltzer novel to get the brain working and the blood pumping, though the timing between them can surely leave fans wishing for more. Then again, that may be the ultimate point!

Kudos, Mr. Meltzer for another great novel. I look forward to more in the coming years!