Given a title like Secret Agenda: Who's Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street?, a reader might envision a nonfiction indictment of Wall Street shenanigans; but in actuality this is fiction; and a solid political mystery, at that.
Billionaires set for a takeover of the presidency of the United States have been so successful at their financial heists that they think nothing can stop them. But somebody is stopping them in a big way, and as the story evolves, a host of secret agendas and wronged women emerge.
Secret Agenda could easily have focused on the mystery portion alone, but Barbara Brett includes a healthy dose of psychology surrounding predators in high places, and conversations and insights highlight the plight of women who are often at the mercy of these wealthy thugs, early on: “I doubt it. You have more to fear if word got out about our little rendezvous. I can either deny it and say you’re lying in order to get publicity to save your career from going in the toilet. Or, a simple businessman who is unacquainted with women and their wiles, I can tell the world that you seduced me—and turned out to be a lousy lay. Either way, you lose big.”
Between its exposé of elite male privilege and its abuse to the ex-detective who owns a bookstore and a cat but can't quite shake the lure of investigations when a case lands right on his doorstep, Brett crafts a compelling narrative that moves between political and monied forces and cat-and-mouse moves.
As these special forces collide on various levels, readers will find this mystery gripping and hard to put down, flavored with a sense of urgency as a host of characters discover they've been emasculated by a savvy attacker bent on serving up revenge in the most intimate of ways.
Brett is a master at developing characters, tension, and personal and political scenarios designed to grip readers with a relentless attention to twists and turns and realistic scenarios. As detective Tom finds himself involved with a woman he shouldn't be considering in the midst of a case which draws upon an expertise he'd thought he left behind, readers will relish a story that rests firmly on personal attractions and psychological insights.
Fast-paced and beautifully written, Secret Agenda is a highly recommended pick for readers who like their political thrillers steamy, passionate, and thoroughly involving.
--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Barbara Brett’s “Secret Agenda” is a read that will keep you glued to the story due to the devious, manipulative greed of the Golden Boys. Like many who are born into wealth, these billionaires feel they have the right to take what they want when they want, including women.
Set in New York City, these Beta Alpha Beta Phi fraternity brothers made a vow they would get what they want and that includes the Presidency. With the elaborate schemes they’ve made up, no one will get in their way. Little do they realize that there is a hidden obstacle coming their way which will encompass the ultimate revenge.
Brett’s vivid descriptions of each of these eight Golden Boys will have readers angry, appalled and saying, “Yes, they think they own the world.” Of all these despicable characters, Tony Portman is the one whom I wanted to get revenge on the most. Arrogant, sleazy and I believe the most dangerous of them all, he is a character that seems to be behind the most gruesome treatment of women without any apology.
The author, through her fascinating characters, creates a cold, brutal story that reader’s often seen in the news today.
Tom Berenson a local bookstore owner and former cop gets caught up in all this mayhem when he is enticed with the offer of investigating the Golden Boys' misdeeds, an offer that will pay for his daughter's college education. I related to Tom in that even though one’s past profession is over those keen instincts never leave us.
Given this dark, can’t-put-it-down read, my only issue is that the revenge and black deeds of each of the characters seemed to drag on a bit, however, this did not distract from the overall captivating read and underlying plot. Brett captures readers attention from the very beginning which is a rare occurrence. She writes with vivid clarity that will put you in each situation whether it is a rape scene or the gruesome revenge.
“Secret Agenda” by Barbara Brett is a page-turning book for all who love intricate mysteries with a stunning ending. I highly recommend this read.
--Carol Hoyer, Reader Views
The very first sentence already tells the reader they will be in for something chilling, out of the ordinary: “Moonless nights are made for mischief, especially the sexual romps of Golden Guys like Tony Portman.” I love it when authors are able to get my attention from the very beginning of the story, but sustaining it throughout the entire novel is something that takes skill, and Barbara Brett has that skill. Readers are introduced to a fraternity of powerful men, a group that has always found a way to attain their goals, no matter what these are, dominating both corporate and political circles. They are the movers of Wall Street. This time, their aim is to take over the presidency of the United States, and they are darn sure nothing can stand in their way. But they are in for their greatest surprise as someone with a more sinister agenda is ahead of them, castrating members of the group. Can they, with their power and resources, unveil the face of the enemy before this enemy destroys the whole group? Secret Agenda: Who's Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street? by Barbara Brett is a mesmerizing story of power, corruption, and crime.
The writing is mature, crisp, and it flows with a grace that is unusual. The scenes are focused, and whether describing a rape scene or a graphic image, the author allows readers to see the details clearly. Barbara Brett’s writing is cinematic, flowing with powerful visual images and unending action. From the first page of the narrative, the reader is introduced to an intensity that involves strong emotions, driven and exciting dialogues, and a conflict that escalates at a rapid speed. Secret Agenda: Who's Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street? is a fantastic story, one crafted after the style of Robert Ludlum’s The Icarus Agenda. It’s hot and spellbinding, seasoned with suspense and grim humor.
--Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite. Five Stars
Best Mystery Fiction
2018 GLOBAL EBOOK AWARDS