One would normally expect a near-future thriller in which teaching about the Civil War has been declared "socially insufficient" (i.e., politically incorrect) to be somewhere to the political right of The Turner Diaries
. Not so, here. War hero and federal cop Matt Sheridan is assigned to infiltrate the allegedly right-wing Confederation of American Patriots. But it turns out that CAP is really the good guys, fighting a corrupt New Liberty regime that has stolen elections and introduced a lethal drug called jazz to justify an enormous federal police apparatus. This is a comparatively standard internal conspiracy plot, but Johns has a real knack for action scenes, for making military and law enforcement hardware complement but not overwhelm his good, archetypal characters, and for genuinely engaging reader sympathies with the rebels. Moreover, in making his debut, Johns has produced a novel that can be enjoyed by those who disagree with his politics--an achievement some writers with far more books under their belts have yet to manage. Roland Green
From Kirkus Reviews
In 2021, the New Liberty party has transformed America: hunger, homelessness, unemployment, the national debt--all have been banished; income tax, however, is cripplingly high, and political correctness is required by law. Society is now threatened by ``jazz,'' a hallucinogenic and addictive drug that, in a very few, induced telekinetic powers. Ex-marine cop Matt Sheridan battles the jazz dealers every way he can, heedless of his superiors' disapproval. Internal Intelligence's Karen Russell, though, has tabbed the multitalented Matt for promotion and transfer to Washington, D.C. (now the state of New Columbia), where he will infiltrate the murderous, fascist, anti-government Confederation of American Patriots. But while Matt blows away drug dealers and worms deeper into the CAP organization, he begins to suspect that the CAP is neither fascist nor terrorist--and that New Liberty not only defrauded its way into power but is actively engaged in supplying jazz to the citizens. A so-so debut, long on agitprop and shoot-'em-up action, short on motive and internal logic. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.