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

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read even though it was meaty.

What a great portrayal of government/Foreign Services. This book took a strong female lead in a predominately male job environment and formed an excellent suspenseful thriller. Kate is a second generation Embassy worker and I s the daughter of a U.S. Government man and a Kyrgyzstan woman with political family ties. Kate grew up in Kyrgyzstan and later became a foreign service person for the U.S. When things go wrong for her due to her decisions and personal involvement at her station in Cuba she is requested to go serve back in Kyrgyzstan where her Uncle on her fathers side is head of the embassy. Kyrgyzstan with it's turbulent and violent government is on the verge of a coup and Kate is the perfect person to get in with the rebels and relay information to the the U.S. The problem is the branches of the U.S. Agencies have split interest in the country. Some agencies are interested in the deal to build a military base in country where as other factions want to establish a relationship with and help the rebels in establishing a new more stable government. As the U.S. Departments play the two government politics against each other Kate is forced to chose between her loyalty to her job and family as well as her beliefs in what is right in the country and she grew up in and the people she loves. She is faced with old friends , new enemies, and an old love which forces her to carefully chose who to trust and every decision she makes. She not only has to protect her job but her life and that of many others, with little experience and everyone seeming to try to use her as a pawn. Matthew Palmer does an amazing job portraying the ins and outs of foreign service. He also portrays the struggles of a third world culture child in a foreign service job. Nothing is Black and White, everyone has their own agenda , and loyalty is divided between cultures, countries, and people. Excellent spy novel and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys political thrillers, great read.

I liked this book because of the strong female character. I really enjoyed that the story wasn't predictable. Kept me guessing.

The author and his willful protagonist Kate, a 2nd-generation US Embassy staffer, swept me into politically unstable Kyrgyzstan with all its highs and lows. I felt the grit of a post-Soviet regime and its questionable infrastructure. I sensed the inner-working of the US State Department with its old boy network. I could imagine the beauty of the countryside, its people and customs. I even learned a few Kyrgyz words. The fast-paced story is both one of young love and an older story of loving country, tradition, and free-minded people. The struggle for freedom in these pages seemed honest and realistic. I found myself cheering for the good. In full disclosure, I received this book as an ARC [Advanced Reader Copy] and believe my review to be unbiased. Given the means, I would correct a few misspellings and overused phrases. Kyrgyzstan is a small landlocked country in central Asia, relatively unknown. I think the book would benefit from a few maps and ethnic pictures, perhaps at the beginning of each chapter.

I liked the characters in this story and rooted for Kate and Ruslan. The story moved a long well and kept you guessing. I would recommend this book to others.

Pretty good thriller with a strong female lead. Seemed a little stereotypical at times, however, it picks up after those parts. Good entertaining read just not my cup of tea.

I have an interest in Diplomatic protocol. Matthew Palmer deftly presents the dilemma of the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan in negotiating a Military Base with the President for Life while lending tacit support to an underground but volcanically grumbling democracy movement. A difficulty that I had was that the Ambassador was a man whose brother and sister-in-law were thought to have been murdered by the Kyrgyz regime, and their daughter, his niece, is assigned as a junior official to the Embassy. Usually, the appointment of an Ambassador receives discreet clearance by the host country beforehand. Would not the Australian Government do some advance soundings with Saudi Arabia if it were to consider appointing Germaine Greer as the Australian Ambassador to that country? In the Embassy, the CIA are effectively Diplomats without a leash and Kate, in cultivating the pro-Democracy movement, must suspect colleagues, the regime, and the underground movement itself. The action moves quickly. Some of the action scenes are superbly written and the denouement is well presented. A problem, however, was a number of typos throughout the text and some cases where quotation marks were not closed. A further proof-reading session is warranted before the book is released.

A good read with a female protagonist having to go undercover for her family, with romance, intrigue, spy stuff. It was a good read, but wasn't what I was expecting.

After getting mixed up in Cuba politics, Kate Hollister, a foreign service diplomat, is reassigned to the country where she grew up, Kyrgyzstan, and where her uncle is the U. S. Ambassador. Since Kate went to school there, her uncle asks her to infiltrate an underground democracy movement where she finds out the leader is her high school sweetheart. This all leads to a story full of intrigue, romance, and an interesting look at behind the scenes dealing of the U. S. State Department in countries. The characters were interesting and the pace very steady.

I was unable to finish this ARC due to illness. :-( That said, what I was able to read was very Good! A young female protagonist in a spy, espionage storyline is quite unusual, along with the interpersonal relationships in the novel. This was a fresh look at political points of life in the not far past that are still reverberating today and so it was good from that perspective as WELL, I'M GOING TO LOOK THIS UP WHEN IT IS RELEASED AND HOPE TO FINISHNITVTHEN, 5 ? Highly recommended!

What a great thriller. I loved getting to know another part of the world I didn't know much about and the action kept me flipping pages.

A fairly quick read about a counter mission on the opposite end of the spectrum. Rebel movement perspective gives a different twist to this book.

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.


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