Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Critical Focus by Alan Zendell

Blurb: Jamie Williams had fought against corruption, war, and oppression all his life. A former campus radical, he published the popular newsletter, Uncommon Sense. Middle age had banked some of his fire, but not his values. And it had taught him that if he wanted his voice to be heard, it had to be reasoned and balanced.

A fragile economy exacerbated by corporate greed, unchecked militarism, terrorism, and out-of-control energy prices, had let millions of people feeling powerless and disenfranchised. Now, a new Internal Security Agency was eroding civil liberties, and there were rumors of a secret military initiative in Africa. 

With a weak, indecisive President, Uncommon Sense was needed more than ever. Jamie had a loyal following, but it was growing too slowly to make a difference. Big changes were coming and Americans needed to hear his voice... if only there were a way to reach them. 

I've had the wonderful pleasure of reading all three of Alan's novels, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be Critical Focus. This book would make a fantastic play, and Alan sets the tone of a grand performance waiting to happen by providing a list of the cast in the beginning of his book. I really appreciated this often overlooked convenience, especially when there are many characters and relationships in the story. I didn't have the play the "who is that again?" game with myself and spend time searching a PDF to remind me who a specific character was - Thanks Alan. 

I also liked that Alan threw me right into the middle of the chaos, starting with a funeral. Nothing like a little death to create an uncertain, chilling atmosphere. This set an exciting tone for the novel and left me filled with anticipation. The scheming in this story is unreal. Individuals who are close to the President have created a way to misrepresent the poll results, ultimately wanting to mislead the entire country. Secrecy, threats, and plotting weaves its way through this novel seamlessly, leaving you jaw-dropped at some parts and wide-eyed in others. I also like Jamie and the Uncommon Sense publication. Uncommon Sense is a different concept that Jamie started from the ground up. I would like to read a copy of the newsletter.

I enjoyed Critical Focus. I think people who like reading about political thrilling stories will definitely want to read this, yet I also believe that those who don't usually read this genre will like this story as well. I am one of those people who don't normally read politically focused novels but Critical Focus really drew me into the story. It is quite a catching read.

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