Presidential Conclusions, by Douglas J. Wood, is the third in a trilogy about the second female president of the United States, Samantha “Sam” Harrison. Written before the actual 2016 election, but published January 17, 2017, Conclusions follows President Harrison, as she courageously guides our nation through the war against terrorism — and succeeds with tactics those before her have been hesitant to use.
Wood knows how to weave a compelling tale. Conclusions is a true page-turner. I couldn’t put it down. His characters come to life on the page with outstanding descriptions of their individual personalities and idiosyncrasies, particularly the misogynistic Putin. Only Sam and her daughter, Amanda, get much of a physical description, and of course, they are gorgeous.
In the first book of the series, Presidential Intentions, we follow Sam through college and grad school to the start of an illustrious career. Told in flashbacks, she is running against Hillary Clinton for president in the 2016 election. She loses the election and becomes Secretary of State. In the second book, Presidential Declarations, Sam wins the 2020 election against Hillary.
Like many authors of this genre, Wood uses the voices of his characters to share his own views. For example, minor character, Mark Steinberger, has never voted, but never hesitates to share his views on the governance of the country. When officials tracked down multiple terrorist cells scattered all over the U.S., another minor character noted that all of them were located in states that do not require guns to be registered.
While Wood clearly does not like Presidents Obama and Carter, he has both good and bad things to say about the other presidents.
He has Obama refuse Sam’s request to meet with all living former presidents except Jimmy Carter, and Bush 41. (No mention was made of Carter’s omission; 41’s was understood to be due to his failing health.) He makes a strong case against the politics of Washington, D.C., and the stagnant behavior of congress. At first I was unsure of the wisdom of using living people as characters in the book, but for the most part, it worked — in these books, James Comey is still FBI director.
While recognizing that a free press is necessary to hold our leaders accountable, Sam mourns the lack of non-sensationalized news coverage, and unbiased journalists such as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.
This is a series not to be missed. If you enjoy political drama and geopolitical intrigue, you will be awakened, highly entertained, and perhaps, a bit frightened.