Alex Berenson | The Power Couple

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power couple by alex berenson

The Book: 

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson, 2021

The Characters: 

Married couple Rebecca (FBI agent) and Brian (NSA coder) Unsworth
Their children Kira and Tony

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Power Couple is expected to be published on February 9th, 2021 by Simon and Schuster.

Many, many thanks to Simon and Schuster and Alex Berenson for a gifted ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Rebecca and Brian Unsworth appear to have it all. A nice house in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Two well-behaved, healthy teenage children. Important government jobs—Rebecca working in counterterrorism for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Brian serving as a coder for the National Security Agency. Their lives stand to improve even more as Brian, in his off-hours, has just developed and sold a highly profitable app.

However, the Unsworths’ marriage isn’t as perfect as it seems. After two decades together, they’ve drifted apart, talking little and having sex even less. Seeking to revive their strained relationship, they decide for their twentieth wedding anniversary to take their two kids, Kira and Tony, on a European getaway.

They have a blast…until one night in Barcelona when Kira doesn’t come home from a dance club. She’s gone. Abducted. Over the course of a single weekend, the Unsworths will do everything possible to find her—as Kira herself discovers just how far she’ll go to break free of the trap that’s been set for her. And even as Rebecca and Brian come together for Kira, they realize their marriage is more tenuous than they realized.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>The Power Couple</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Power Couple, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Brian’s two million dollar app was fake. He was honeytrapped by a woman who filmed him having rough sex with her. Russian thugs threatened to release the video and bring a rape charge down on him unless he spied for them on both his and Rebecca’s work, and Brian agreed without hesitation. The Russians made the app to cover up their $2 million payment to him. 

When Brian asked for more money, the Russians got mad. He didn’t hear from them for a year, but then Kira was taken. Brian immediately knew it was his punishment. 

Kira escaped by stealing acetone from the bathroom, seducing Rodrigo (the dumbest and most drugged of her captors), and burning his eyes with the acetone and a lighter while having sex with him. (Okay, I kind of had to suspend belief here–her captors didn’t check the closet for weapons before keeping her there?? You would think they would clear out the bathroom and not take any chances, too.)

Kira was able to run away from the house, but twisted her ankle and cut her leg during her escape. She hid in bushes as her other kidnappers drove back to the house. They shot Rodrigo and set the house on fire and escaped. 

Meanwhile, a ransom was set and instructions were given to Rebecca and Brian to exchange the money for Kira. As they arrived and the local train station. The Spanish police heard about the fire, assumed it was connected, and brought Rebecca in a helicopter to the site. Rebecca found Kira in the bushes. 

Six months later, Kira is back at college in Boston and trying to recover mentally. Rebecca goes to visit her for a girl’s weekend. Kira suggests they visit the Encore casino, and when Rebecca looks it up on Brian’s app she notices nothing on the app has been updated recently. She connects the dots, goes to Vegas to investigate, and discovers that he has been working for the Russians. 

Brian has gone back to working for them since the kidnapping. He begins to suspect that Rebecca knows something.

The Ending:

Brian and Rebecca each simultaneously plot murdering the other. They plan a 21st anniversary trip to St. Bart’s and rent a boat. Rebecca knows Brian is also planning to murder her, but Brian doesn’t seem to suspect Rebecca. Brian throws Rebecca overboard, but she has planned for this. As he holds her underwater to drown her, she stabs him with a syringe of a huge dose of epinephrine and gives him a heart attack. The book ends after she watches him drown.

power couple by alex berenson
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The Review: 

In a time when I am frustrated at the inability to travel, this novel did an excellent job of transporting me all around the globe. Every setting was perfect! I had just recently read The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian and got a lot of the same vibes, too.

Domestic thrillers are a particular favorite of mine, and The Power Couple did not disappoint. I flew through this book in just a few days. The espionage aspect and the insights into Brian and Rebecca’s jobs made it all the more interesting.

I thought Alex Berenson did an amazing job at developing these characters, especially the women. Neither let the men in the story make them a victim. Kira was surprisingly cool-headed and clever in her situation (other than the blunder of going off in a foreign country with a stranger), and I enjoyed reading her thought process as she plots her escape. Rebecca took charge of the case of her missing daughter and didn’t let anyone put her in a corner. 

Kind of a personal aside, but I love reading books that are set in places that I am familiar with and can picture. I lived in Boston until a year ago and have since moved to Las Vegas–both of these locations are featured in this book.

Overall, I found The Power Couple to be a very enjoyable, fast-paced, and intriguing espionage novel.

If you enjoyed The Power Couple, you might like…

power couple by alex berenson

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