Original Books

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Red, White, and Blue by Laura Hayden

Now that Emily Benton has achieved the honor of first female President of the United States, her best friend and chief of staff Kate Rosen is unsure of which direction she will take. Given the volatile nature of Emily, now that she is on top of the world, anything could happen. Kate soon finds that her job switch from campaign manager to chief of staff does not lighten the load-but it increases it. Politics are demanding, Kate quickly learns, for everyone wants their problems to be fixed. And with Emily's ex-husband still hanging around with believable secrets implicating Emily, Kate finds herself playing the double agent. Her suspicion mounts when Emily launches a three-part energy transformation project as her first big act as President. Many questionable actions and conspiracies surround the project, and Kate soon finds herself working against her best friend. But she can't hide her actions from Emily much longer, so she'll have to make a decision-fast.

In the follow-up to a promising political novel, Laura Hayden has done what she needed to do. She took the situation she had created and did not waste the opportunity to do something original. Rather write another predictable political story, Laura did something different, earning herself a five star novel.

Kate, Emily, Nick, and the rest remain as good of characters as they were in America the Beautiful. Emily's switch to a villain in this second installment of the series creates an interesting and original twist. Where Laura could have easily created a typical corrupt politician or male supremist villain, she used one of her own lead characters. Laura needed to make a move like this in order to save this series from complete mediocrity. Laura Hayden knows how to create good and ambiguous characters.

There is a "maybe" romantic subplot created during the plot, but nothing is finalized. Laura Hayden sprinkled many realistic political issues into the plot to keep things realistic. Many realistic and everyday events occur throughout the plot; it is not all about Emily's energy project. A key character death occurs in the middle of the book to keep things interesting. Laura Hayden held over the good plot structure and plot development she had in America the Beautiful. The deciding factor in the book's rating, save for the characters, is the highly original end. It was the only end Laura could have written under the circumstances without producing a sappy work. It was the key to the book's success, as are most endings.

Laura says there are more books to come in this series, yet I think the series needs to end now because I do not foresee anything good coming out of a third book. However, I could be wrong. All that matters now is that Laura fulfilled this series' potential and did not let it go to waste. She is a formidable author from whom I expect more great things.

5 stars

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