Enemy of the Good by Matthew Palmer

Enemy of the Good

Matthew Palmer

“[Enemy of the Good] lets the reader see the action up close and in vivid, colorful detail… A fine read with a heroine too honorable to shoot the dog.”—Kirkus Reviews

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A tense, complex, and twisting diplomatic thriller in which one woman must choose between morality and compromise—and in either case, the consequences may be deadly.

Katarina “Kate” Hollister is a second-generation Foreign Service officer, recently assigned to Kyrgyzstan. She’s not there by chance. Kate is a Foreign Service brat who attended high school in the region; her uncle is the U.S. ambassador to the country, and he pulled a few strings to get her assigned to his mission.

U.S.–Kyrgyz relations are at a critical juncture. U.S. authorities have been negotiating with the Kyrgyz president on the lease of a massive airbase that would significantly expand the American footprint in Central Asia and could tip the scale in “the Great Game,” the competition among Russia, China, and the United States for influence in the region. The negotiations are controversial in the United States because of the Kyrgyz regime’s abysmal human-rights record. The fate of the airbase is balanced on a razor’s edge.

Amid these events, Kate’s uncle assigns her to infiltrate an underground democracy movement that has been sabotaging Kyrgyz security services and regime supporters. Washington has taken an interest in the movement, her uncle conveys, and may find it worth supporting if they understand more about the aims and leadership. And Kate has an in—many followers of the movement were high school classmates of hers.

But it soon becomes clear that nothing about Kate’s mission is as it seems . . . and that she might need to lay her life on the line for what she knows is right.

Advance Galley Reviews

Although entertaining and clearly very well-researched in terms of both US diplomacy/embassy operations and also Kyrgyz culture/politics, this book was confused as to whether it wanted to be a romance or a political thriller, and somehow did not mix them well. Also, the author clearly never met a simile he didn't like, and could have used some more editing to pick the best ones. Overall, it was entertaining with very good characters, though some of them became a bit caricatured towards the end and other set pieces were farfetched. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story about a young woman in the Foreign Service who gets wrapped up in a high-stakes political game in Kyrgyzstan due to family relations, old relationships and a tendency to act on impulse and passion rather than calculation and consideration. Once again, Matthew Palmer shows that he knows the Foreign Service from the inside which makes the story much more credible and interesting. The characters are somewhat black and white, and the story loses its pace now and again which costs the fifth star in my rating, but I was very well entertained from cover to cover. Fans of Todd Moss's brilliant series about Judd Ryker (e.g. The Golden Hour) will definitely also enjoy this and other books by Palmer - e.g. Secrets of State.

This was an engrossing look at the workings of an embassy in a country governed by an autocrat. Kate Wallander grew up in Kyrgyzstan as th daughter of a diplomat. She has now returned as a foreign service worker. She is assigned to infiltrate an underground movement that has been challenging the government and discover who the leaders are. Problems arise when she succeeds and discovers that she went to school with some of the members and its' leader was her former boyfriend. To betray their identities would mean betraying a cause she believes in and someone she still has feelings for. The book moves at a good pace and held my interest to the last page. I will definitely look to see what else Matthew Palmer has written.

Not really my cup of tea. The writing is not bad but the story and characters felt very paint-by-numbers. In some genres I'm fine with that but espionage isn't really one of them. Not bad, just not for me.

A thrilling political story about power and choices. Palmer brings memorable characters through the dark underbelly of a corrupt Kyrgyz government. Well written and interesting from cover to cover, not to mention a small lesson in an area of the world I personally knew nothing about.

Fast paced, but not too fast. Great character development and intricate relationships. All around good mystery.

Choosing between what's good and evil is a daily struggle for our heroine and this novel accurately depicts some of the daily hurdles a person would encounter. I found it quite entertaining to read!

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. The beginning of the story took a while to suck me in, but suck me in it did! Katarina “Kate” Hollister is a foreign diplomat that has been reassigned to her home country after getting into trouble with her superiors on a Cuba assignment. History starts to repeat itself as she settles into familiar childhood haunts and the line between work for the US and love for her Kyrgyzstan roots starts to blend. Political powers are at major war with each other and classified information on a resistance movement that has affected Kate personally in the past and now in the present has been leaked. The local fighting regime is on its way to being squashed before it can really publicly begin. Kate needs to decide what is more important to her, Duty or Justice, what she knows is right. This book has it all. A thriller, romance, politics and rebellion.

What a powerful story! This is, by far, the best novel I have read all year. While the book needs proof read (several grammatical errors), the story line is a very good one. I could not put it down or wait to get to the end. The battle for democracy never seems to end. I would strongly suggest this book!

This was the first book I have read by Matthew Palmer, but it will not be the last for sure. I have read many books buy his father and brother and have liked them all. What a successful author family. This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning. The story plot is about an all to caring foreign diplomat, Kate Hollister. She was reassigned after getting to close on a Cuba assignment warning and allowing some resistance people escape to Kyrgyzstan. There was a ruthless dictator in place with an underground resistance effort which she was assigned to infiltrate to help the US understand better what was happening and being planned. Unknown to many senior officials at the Embassy, one person was feeding information back to the local regime on her efforts helping them capture and take out a few of the resistance. Ultimately leading to a showdown between Kate and the source of the leaks. The plot was fresh and realistic, and can see Matthews expertise in these matters come out in the book nicely. I read about 100 books a year, mainly in the thriller genre, This ranks up with some of the best books I have read. So for those that love thrillers will also love this book. I give this 5 stars!

A thrilling book about Kate, the niece of the Kyrgyzstan ambassador, being drawn into joining a group of rebels, comprised some of her old school mates. Plenty of intrigue, romance and finality to Kate's missing Aunt who was involved in a dissident group years earlier and was never seen again. A good read.


More to Explore

  • The American Mission
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  • Secrets of State

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