Foreword Reviews

Pivot Point

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Pivot Point is an engaging near-future political thriller with a too plausible plot.

In Clive Hallam’s thrilling Pivot Point, a madman with a weapon of mass destruction is unleashed on a fragile area as global forces race to stop him from carrying out acts of violence.

A centuries-long Middle Eastern stalemate draws to its potential close thanks to the US, which has brokered a deal between Israel and Palestine. As the peace talks commence with both sides seeming eager to make amends, a shadowy organization, The Seven, sets a series of attacks into motion to further destabilize the region. The CIA and MI6 send agents to prevent further attacks before the group unleashes their ultimate plan: a nuclear attack with global reach.

The book’s characters operate in a consistent way. CIA operative Steve Logan and MI6 agent Brooke Murtagh are at the center of this story. Both are capable and determined, though Murtagh is new to the field. Though they are the primary focus, they aren’t fleshed out beyond their abilities and their immediate goals of stopping the attacks.

More rounded out, and better established, is the head of The Seven, who often steals the spotlight from the more superficial heroes. His painful backstory, current situation, and deep desire to make the world pay paint a picture of a broken man.

Detailed descriptions capture scenes well, even when they sprawl across pages and even though the book incorporates a variety of locations. The action is easy to track, and the dialogue functions effectively, though off-screen voices from television, radio, and beyond are formatted the same way that the dialogue is, leading to some confusion. It can be difficult to tell who’s speaking in the moment.

Scene transitions utilize clever elements such as reports, transcripts, or blaring televisions to signal shifts and amp up tension. Logan and Murtagh may anchor the story, but the narrative jumps from them to The Seven, other key operatives, and important public officials to expand upon scenes without covering the same ground. These shifts keep the story fresh and dynamic while still allowing for static, grounded moments such as Logan and Murtagh’s quiet breakfast in bed.

Realistic and engaging, the story draws upon current events to craft its subtle futuristic elements. Its stakes are high, and following both sides is compelling. The resolution is satisfying—not only wrapping the varied threads up, but using a tantalizing cliffhanger to open the door for potential sequels.

Pivot Point is an engaging near-future political thriller with a too plausible plot.

Reviewed by John M. Murray

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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