A Book Spy Review: ‘The Russia Account’ by Stephen Coonts

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The Russian AccountBoth Tommy Carmellini and Jake Grafton return in the latest politically-charged thriller from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Coonts.

It all starts when a prominent politician informs CIA Director Jake Grafton that the daughter of a good friend in Estonia has been kidnapped. But what starts as a rescue mission quickly becomes more when Grafton realizes that the parent involved works at a small bank that’s already being looked at for suspicious activity. 

The branch in question, it turns out, has been processing a few hundred million American dollars a week, money Grafton strongly suspects traces back to Russia and even Vladimir Putin himself. To find out for sure, he tasks veteran operative Tommy Carmellini with investigating things—specifically where the money comes from and where it’s going—and to locate and save the girl. 

As the story unfolds, Carmellini finds that the money does, indeed, come from Russia and then to countries all over the world, the majority of it ending up in American accounts—most of which are registered to various political campaigns. The motives are simple, to destabilize the West and increase Russian influence, but the deeper Carmellini and Grafton dig, the more twists and turns they discover—including a shocking revelation that unmasks the individual who originally came up with the scheme in the first place, someone most readers will never see coming. 

After years spent fighting on the front lines against the war on terror, confronting the enemy head-on, Tommy Carmellini suddenly finds himself out of his element while chasing down the mastermind behind a financial conspiracy that threatens the United States and Europe . . . and Coonts’ ending will leave some readers rattled. 

Ever since leaving his longtime publisher and signing with Regnery several years back, Coonts has taken a new approach to his writing. Always known as a conservative, Coonts’ stories tended to lean to the right of the political spectrum—similar to fellow bestselling authors Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and to a lesser extent, Tom Clancy. Now, though, Coonts has ripped the filter off completely and continues to serve up politically incorrect thrillers that tackle the most controversial hot-button issues facing American today. 

It doesn’t take much to realize the similarities, either, when you write in a president with an abnormal hairstyle who lost the popular vote and now faces impeachment, an angry democratic speaker, or a senator who claims to be Native American, and so on. The difference now is that Coonts isn’t trying to hide anything—and his unvarnished, unapologetic style is helplessly entertaining, making The Russian Account his third must-read thriller in a row. Only wheres Liberty’s Last Stand and The Armageddon File were both crammed with action, Coon’s dials back the explosions here. There’s still plenty—including an assassination attempt—to get readers’ heartrates revved up, but the bulk of the story’s 300-something pages are spent on the financial side, explaining things and teasing the fallout. Coonts still does a nice job of keeping the pacing steady, but fans of his series may notice this one’s a bit slower than they’re used to. 

All in all, Stephen Coonts delivers another fun, torn-from-the-headlines thriller that almost feels a little too real for comfort. 

Book Details

Author: Stephen Coonts
Series: Tommy Carmellini #9
Pages: 334 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1621576604
Publisher: Regnery Fiction
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

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Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

 

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