© 2013 Brad Thor
The five people on the short list to succeed to the chair of the Federal Reserve have just disappeared, and Scott Harvath — former Navy SEAL, now private security action hero — is hired to find out why. When the five begin appearing as the victim-players in dramatic executions making homage to Boston’s revolutionary history, only Harvath, a saucy Portuguese lady-cop, their smartphones, and their Berettas stand between the world economy and total disruption! As with The Last Patriot, Hidden Order combines fun-with-trivia history with action heroics, though it’s not as silly as that National Treasure-esque book. I read it because I happened to hear the author being interviewed, and he quoted Star Trek.
Here, Brad Thor takes on the considerable task of making a thriller out of the deceitfully-named Federal Reserve, which protects itself from public awareness by making every discussion of it glaze eyes and put listeners to sleep. Thor avoids the word monetary altogether and focuses entirely on the conspiratorial aspects of the Fed, chiefly the interesting manner in which it was arranged: a band of New York bankers retreating to a small island off of Georgia under the guise of hunting, then planning a national bank with control over the nation’s money. The ‘fed’ remains a private entity with control over public finance. Thor lays it on a bit thick, with Harvath’s chief source for this living in a fortified warehouse after a long history with the CIA and secret programs. (This is one of the few instances that gumshoe work is actually present. Harvath and Lara Cordero, the cop, do most of their research on their phones. Deus ex telemachina!) One of the more interesting aspects of the novel is the repeated use of Revolutionary-era landmarks and symbols. I also generally enjoy the sarcastic banter between Harvath and others, though the b-plot regarding a plot to topple the Jordanian government didn’t too much interest me. The action hero there was a CIA operative with the last name of Ryan, which sometimes made my brain twitch because I kept thinking of Jack Ryan. Ultimately the two plots prove to be part of a larger conspiracy, connecting in an explosion in downtown Boston.
Hidden Order is light fun with an ending air of wish fulfillment. I wouldn’t rely on it for too many facts — Thor refers to the Boston massacre as soldiers shooting ‘innocent civilians’, as though the men standing guard that day started shooting people to break the monotony of standing there. They weren’t surrounded by an armed mob pelting them with rocks and snow, no sir.. Presumably the Jekyll island conspiracy has a similarly impassioned twist to it.