The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election

The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election ISBN: 9781732511705 Moot Point Productions, copyright and written by Michael R. French.

The author has presented an ‘on-the-surface appearing’ simple story that follows a very intelligent young high school student with strong moral principles but totally naïveté with respect to politics as she challenges the charismatic favorite young man for election to the student body presidency. This seemingly impossible task appears even less attainable when she, with a team of only a few friends, actually realizes that her opponent’s team is a very successful, well-oiled machine that has been successful for some time. She has one other person to whom she listens intently and absorbs his lectures – the school’s rather revered history teacher who for several generations has been providing sensible advice along with his presentation of the importance of history as it repeats and is interpreted by one generation after another. Through his teachings and advice, complete understanding and approval by her parents, most intelligent decisions, AND unexpected information provided by an unknown cyber expert, she discovers that the success of her main opponent may not be simply because of he and his team’s abilities. Instead, he and his group are supported and secretly funded and advised by an organization that ostensibly has been established to aid struggling educational programs, but has another agenda in mind. When she ultimately makes great advances in her campaign, the organization approaches her with offers extremely difficult for her to turn down and the story continues to an interesting finale.

Discussion: The author has an excellent understanding of politics, its deceit, betrayal, treachery, intrigues, lying and often present, exhibition of blatant but more usually hidden, personal greed and other less worthy aspects of human thought patterns. Additionally his understanding of teen age children and their need to adjust to individual physical and mental changes while simultaneously attempting to deal with their peers in an environment that frequently can be surprisingly cruel, is quite admirable. He has set forth a story that provides an honest look at politics while stressing the importance of history, a much ignored important feature of today’s education, and coincidentally has provided a protagonist who projects strong moral courage and tenacity of purpose to overcome purportedly unbeatable odds and ‘make a difference’.

Summary: This is a fast moving, well-written story that those in their teens should thoroughly enjoy. Coincidentally, this book could be of interest to adults for the parallel it describes with respect to the horribly broken political system presently extant within the U.S. and perhaps could serve as a tool to be employed by teachers of young, and near adult, students.

5* A book young adults should enjoy and adults read – see discussion.

 

You Owe Me

You Owe Me, a mystery/thriller copyright, assumed published in e-book and written by Kerry J. Costello.
Plot: An American Serviceman saves the life of a British counterpart in an unusual situation during their mutual service in Iraq in 2003. It is a deed performed in passing with neither having previous knowledge even of the other’s existence. The ‘saved’ Frankie Armstrong, overwhelmed with gratitude, tells the American, Joe Nelson ‘He owes him and to call whenever he is in need”. In March of 2017 he receives a call from Joe, now the owner of a boat yard in Naples, FL, opening with “And remember the very last thing you said to me when we last met?” Frankie responds with “I remember I said I owe you if that’s what you mean?” He is answered in the affirmative simply pressuring him to come to Florida to help him find his young nephew Billy Ray who, with his friend Jerry are treasure-seeking divers, but has disappeared without a trace. Frankie, after drifting rather aimlessly for some period of time, joins with army buddie Derek Barnes (Barnsie), to become co-founders of a security agency in GB. He seems to be financially secure, his much-loved wife Penny has just left him for another woman and he is contemplating suicide. The call actually provides an opportunity for him to reconsider. He travels to Florida, meets Joe and begins his search. It seems the nephew, besides diving, also is quite a Lothario and has absconded with the wife of a notoriously vicious and extremely wealthy mobster and is assumed to be somewhere in hiding. The tale continues from this point, gradually building to a satisfying climax with all loose strings gathered together.
Discussion: The author has set forth an interesting fictional take on some historical facts. The resulting plot rambles a bit but offers sufficient interesting aspects to make the reader want to continue through to the end. From this reviewer’s perspective it should be of greatest interest to those who enjoy plot-based stories. Again perhaps for this reader alone, the characters are not particularly well-developed and it is most difficult, at least for this reader, to develop much empathy with other than unfortunately rather distasteful ones for Joe for reasons with which the reader may or not concur. Additionally, judicious editing would present a more coherent tale with far less repetitive material. So, to reiterate, this is a very imaginatively developed story that once begun, begs to be finished.
3* 4* imaginative story; 3* for flaws as described.