THE HEART OF WAR Mis­ad­ven­tures in the Pen­tagon

Kath­leen J. Mcin­nis, Post Hill Press (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $16 (272pp), 978-1-68261-651-2

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight | Debut Fiction - LAURA LEAVITT

The Heart of War by na­tional pol­icy vet­eran Kath­leen Mcin­nis is part of­fice drama, part foible-filled romp through the US’S mil­i­tary bu­reau­cracy.

When Dr. Heather Reilly ar­rives at the Pen­tagon to work as an aca­demic fel­low, she al­ready has mis­giv­ings. Along with her vegan, paci­fist fi­ancé Ryan, she’s al­ways seen her­self as some­one work­ing to­ward peace, not pre­par­ing the coun­try for war. How­ever, from the mo­ment she walks through the Pen­tagon’s doors, noth­ing goes as she ex­pects.

Reilly and her col­leagues work across gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to se­cure ap­provals for a ma­jor mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment. It could sta­bi­lize re­la­tions with Rus­sia—or, as many warn, it could “cause World War III.” Along the way, Reilly de­vel­ops con­fi­dence, pushes against need­less bu­reau­cracy, and sees how her voice can be im­pact­ful in pol­icy.

Through the high stakes of Pen­tagon work, Reilly’s close col­league Voight pro­vides en­dear­ing levity. He en­cour­ages her to “em­brace the suck” when things go wrong. The tone re­mains ir­rev­er­ent through­out, pro­vid­ing an ef­fec­tive if gen­tle cri­tique of the back-and-forth needed to ac­com­plish any­thing in the Pen­tagon.

Quick di­a­logue be­tween com­plex char­ac­ters keeps the plot mov­ing for­ward even as the work of the coali­tions team is stymied and set back. De­tails about the inside of Congress and the Pen­tagon ring true and give the text a be­hindthe-scenes feel without tak­ing away from the rol­lick­ing plot.

Reilly and her col­leagues can be counted on through­out the story to be clue­less and bril­liant by turns, keep­ing the plot fun through its many twists. Emo­tional mo­ments tug on the heart­strings, and the ro­man­tic sub­plot con­cludes in a very sat­is­fy­ing way. Kath­leen Mcin­nis’s The Heart of War is an amus­ing con­tem­po­rary ro­mance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.