Publication Date: May 1, 2014
It’s the not so distant future and violence rules American politics. When the President Elect is assassinated and the question of who will be the next president causes turmoil in the nation, Civil War looms. Florida is the first to secede and as countries threaten to enter the battle. What will happen to a nation falling apart?
The author, Richard Peters, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Some political thrillers are cautionary and others give a stiff middle finger to the perceived corruption in government and law enforcement. Some political thrillers try to accomplish so much that they become a mish-mash of ideas with a definite direction that is something of a road to nowhere. That one of this author’s stated writing idols is Kurt Vonnegut makes sense as there is a shared lack of focus, but without Vonnegut’s elegance of simplicity.
There are themes familiar in modern television and books. We see the rise of the corporation as a political entity, the media’s propensity to hatemongering and extreme responses, the threat of secession and the increase of violence as a political tool. The story revolves around a hung Electoral College and fallout in the argument as to who then should be President in the wake of the murder of the President Elect. Reporter Jessica seems to speak directly to readers when she opines, “What does it matter who’s president anyway? Congress is still going to sit on their collective do-nothing asses. The figurehead occupying the Oval Office is small change” (Page 15). In the case of [easyazon-link asin=”B00G2H6DL0″ locale=”us”]Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity I: The Second Civil War[/easyazon-link], violence is used to manipulate power at the executive level. The plot elements read as overblown for effect which is how fiction works but in the case of [easyazon-link asin=”B00G2H6DL0″ locale=”us”]Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity I: The Second Civil War[/easyazon-link] leads the reader to feel as though the author is exerting heavy handed manipulation with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Peter’s writing style is somewhat anecdotal. There are a lot of characters that readers are with for a brief period of time and never really get to know. It is the habit of this reader to keep notes while reading, so keeping things straight was a matter of dissection. People who are looking for a book to pick up and put down in order to pick it up later might enjoy the slightly disconnected writing style. In one sitting it was maddening. In the large cast of characters there were many anti-heroes and few characters for whom to cheer that added to the sense of a story run together.
Underneath it all, this is an author who clearly knows his stuff. He knows the military, he knows secession, he knows the questions to be asked in uncertain political situations and he knows the buzzwords used in political spin. The dialogue was sparse and while frequently heavily exposition, it rang as very true. Had the story been more cohesive and not been so heavy handed in telling opting instead to show, my review of this novel may have been a very different story. The story talked a lot about contemporary issues and yet seemed to be missing its voice.
The author is a veteran and is donating 50% of the proceeds of [easyazon-link asin=”B00G2H6DL0″ locale=”us”]Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity I: The Second Civil War[/easyazon-link] to the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, a non-profit that helps injured veterans and helped the author when he was injured in Iraq. I encourage readers of this blog to either pick up this book or donate to the charity. If you pick up the novel, let me know what you think. I’ve purchased it and sent it to my Dad who I think will like it better and connect with the story more than I did.