Review: The Power Couple by Alex Berenson

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Hardcover: Simon Schuster | Audiobook: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: HC: 432 pages | Audio: 12 hrs and 49 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

A domestic suspense with just a hint of espionage and political thriller thrown into the mix, The Power Couple by Alex Berenson was fun read. Best of all, it felt like getting two books in one, and the author won’t reveal how everything is connected until the very end.

Rebecca and Brian Unsworth have been married for twenty years, so for their anniversary they’ve decided to do something truly special, like treating themselves and their kids to a much-needed vacation in Europe. But behind the façade of this happy all-American family is a rot that has been festering for quite some time. Consumed with her work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rebecca has long been neglecting her relationships with her husband and children, leaving Brian quietly resentful even though her connections had helped him get a coder job at the NSA. Both are aware they’ve been slowly drifting apart, and their hope for this European getaway is that it will also help bring them closer together.

But one night in Barcelona, their teenage daughter Kira leaves for a dance club and doesn’t return to the hotel. Witnesses say she met an attractive stranger before leaving with him and some of his friends, the last anyone saw of any of them. Thus begins Kira’s terrifying journey as a kidnapping victim, taken for reasons she knows nothing about, though her captors seem to know a lot about her. Meanwhile, after the local police has done all they can, Rebecca and Brian scramble to mobilize their own resources in the US government to help track down their daughter. Surely, if Kira had just been a random target, her abductors shouldn’t be too hard to find. But what if it hadn’t been random? What if someone had gone after Kira to send a message?

Our story begins with practically no preamble, opening with the events leading up to Kira’s kidnapping, all of it unfolding from her point of view. After these harrowing sections, however, the narrative suddenly switches tack, flashing back all the way to Rebecca’s college days in law school. From there on out, we get the story of how she decided she was going to join the FBI, as well as how she met and fell in love with Brian, eventually getting married and starting a family. At first, this abrupt switch seemed counter-intuitive and even unwelcome, considering how rudely we were torn away from the present timeline and the heart-pounding events that were taking place. I wanted to know what was happening to Kira and what her parents were doing to get her back, so why on earth was my time being wasted with a rundown of Rebecca’s life story?

Well, suffice to say, I found out why in the end. This book is definitely a puzzle that requires all its pieces to make sense—put together the domestic suspense half with the half about the kidnapping, and voila, you have the key! Thriller fans will enjoy this story, which reminds me a little of Taken, but whereas Liam Neeson’s character was former CIA and Green Beret, Kira’s parents are not quite so badass. In fact, despite the novel’s title, Rebecca and Brian don’t hold much power at all at their respective agencies, though they do have some bureaucratic connections. Still, for the most part, the sections of the book dealing with the parents are less about the action and more about the mistrust and suspicions surrounding a poisonous marriage—themes that leave you on the edge of your seat in their own intense way.

As with most thrillers, the personalities of our characters also ended up playing a huge role. Brian and Rebecca are flawed individuals and neither of them inspire much sympathy, though that’s what makes books like this so fun. I loved how we got both their perspectives, allowing readers to compare and spot where their credibility might be compromised and speculate reasons as to why they would lie. It’s a guessing game all the way through, until the story ultimately culminates in a shocking yet satisfying ending.

The Power Couple was my first book by Alex Berenson, but after this, I’ll surely be looking out for more of his work. Had a great time with this one, with its compulsive storytelling and electrifying ambience. Recommended.

21 Comments on “Review: The Power Couple by Alex Berenson”

  1. Great review, Mogsy! Call me intrigued.
    I can relate to that family, being married since 26 years, and my youngest son is 20 years. Been to Barcelona, as well. Up on my tbr!

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      • My last day there was raining cats and dogs, I went to the museum and got soaked in just a few steps from the Metro to the building. I spent half a day there, all the Catalanian history including the horrible times of Franco Regime.
        So, you‘ve got an archaeological background?

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        • I’ve got an anthropological sciences specialist degree, which involved doing some archaeology. One summer in college I was offered an opportunity to go on a dig in Spain, so I took it. The site was actually some hours away from Barcelona, but after we were done, I took a train and spent a couple days in the city before I flew home. I’ll never forget la Sagrada Família! Holy crap that was a scary climb to the top.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I never managed to get into the Sagrada Familia. You have to reserve visitor spots online far in advance nowadays. But it’s beautiful even from outside.

            Do you still work in that professional field? Or did the winds blow you somewhere else? I guess, anthropology is highly interesting to learn but not exactly sought after with jobs.

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          • When I went, there were lines but no need to reserve a spot, and I got in with minimal waiting even during the busy summer months. Ah, this was years ago, now I feel old 😀

            And no, I am not doing anything related to anthro these days, and I certainly wanted nothing to do with archaeology again after that dig, lol! It was boring tedious work in the field and in the lab, not to mention hot as hell! 😛

            Liked by 1 person

          • Haha, I remember how one could visit Venice without being surrounded by other tourists. Only during carnival it was crowded. But that was more than 20 years ago. Same goes for US National Parks. Tourism went up like hell, there are nearly no hidden spots anymore.
            One that I know of: The „Wave“ in Utah/Arizona; Rangers strictly restrict access there to 20 people per day. I‘ve won that lottery two years ago and I‘m still happy as a cake. That’s my profile pic btw 😁

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          • It feels unreal there. You might think it’s a huge place, but it’s crowded with ten people. I was absolutely lucky, and it’s a once in a lifetime.

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  2. Great to hear you enjoyed this one. I was thinking it sounded a little like Taken also. And I’m glad to hear they’re not so badass as in Taken. Do you think that brings it down to earth a little more? I mean, I enjoyed the movie, but with that type of movie it’s almost always just a bit over the top as far as believability.

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    • Yes, Taken was great but the badassery of Liam Neeson was a bit over the top! I think it was cool that the parents in this book were a bit more “normal”, but they were also different in their own way…more than that I can’t say though! 😉

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  3. Pingback: Bookshelf Roundup: 02/20/21: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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