on April 2, 2016
A small group of suicide bombers from Azizistan attack key points in Washington, D.C. causing many deaths, injuries, and destruction. Immediately the President and Congress jump to declare war on Azizistan. One brave senator, Rebecca McElroy, opposes the move, calling for a more measured approach with clear-cut objectives and goals to stem the terrorists. After casting the lone dissenting vote on the war, McElroy decides that the war issue is important enough for her to seek a third term in spite of her campaign promise to limit her service to two terms. Pulling together many of the team that had worked on Alex Hogan's congressional campaign, they hit the campaign trail despite the overwhelming odds of public support for the war.
This is the second book of four in the Perpetual Campaign series with many characters returning for this senatorial campaign.
As with the first book, this story highlights the behind the scenes political process, including the positioning of radio and television advertising, fund raising, and dirty tricks.
In addition, this book adds an analysis of the call to war that parallels the actions and mis-cues of the United States' invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, even adding a terrorist mastermind that is a blend of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. This analysis is the hallmark of the book and explains reasons why the lack of proper goals and exit planning before the invasions have resulted in the quagmire the two real-world countries have become. Even better, it's done without lecturing or detracting from the flow or the entertainment value of the overall story.
The book can be read as a standalone, but the reader will benefit from reading the first book in the series, "Stumbling Forward" in order to have a better understanding of the characters and their previous relationships.
on July 12, 2012
Sometimes I'm guilty of refusing to remember that fiction is, by definition, not true. No matter how much an author might weave people, places, and things they're familiar with into a story, it is still a story they've made up. I was guilty of that with A Referendum on Conscience, picturing the President in the story as a George W. Bush clone and the war in question as a slightly modified war in Iraq in search of non-existent "weapons of mass destruction." I'm not sure that viewing the story in this light wasn't a good thing for me, but I found out after reading that the true happenings which served as inspiration were something else.
Regardless of how you choose to relate the story to real life, if you do that at all, it's a great story. That there are multiple ways to relate the story to our world only makes it better. I assume it is due to the author's work as a political strategist, but the "behind the scenes" look at a political campaign felt right to me. Much of the story takes place in Minnesota, and his depiction of the different cities and towns, as well as the specifics of the Twin Cities metro was spot on. If you're a political thriller fan, you owe it to yourself to give A Referendum on Conscience a read.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
on April 23, 2011
Chris Truscott continues the dynamic series of political novels with Referendum on Conscience, the second in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed Stumbling Forward, Book One, and have continued my Five Star opinion with this second effort.
Perhaps, at least for me, the most intriguing aspect of Mr. Truscott's work is the "fair and balanced" way in which he handles the pros and cons of Liberal and Conservative thought. The characters depicted range from the idiotic to the exemplary. He continues to acknowledge that for some in politics, winning is the issue, not principle. This will not surprise anyone, but it is refreshing to see someone who has such an in-depth knowledge of the system confirm that ratbags live in both uniforms. Most political novels depict the bad guy as the ones from the 'other" party. Truscott slays all the dragons without fear or favor.
This series will keep you involved and seeking further confirmation of the growth (or failure) of the main characters, several of whom seem destined to continue a higher level of integrity than those whom they serve while managing the campaign.
Thanks again, Chris, for a fun-filled romp through leadership at the highest level of government. Heaven help the rest of us to survive the burden they inflict.
on May 6, 2011
"Referendum on Conscience" is more political slime carried forward from "Stumbling Along," this time to the tune of $50mil that you will love to hate. Clarissa and Carter heat up as they continue their slog through political bogs shouldering a senatorial load against all odds. Carefully avoiding snags, snakes and snarky crocs, they navigate towards high ground. But wait. Back it up, back the frick'n tape to, yeah, right there. Do we see a campaign person shaking hands in the crowd with....???
Say it ain't so, Joe. Throw in the towel. Political leper, please fall on your sword.
Excellent development of supporting characters to compliment tidy growth in the star personalities as everybody gets cast into the teeth of conventional warfare gears that grind blindly against amorphous terrorists and their unconventional violence. "Referendum on Conscience" reports the home front battle for the hearts and votes of those not sent abroad to search and destroy.
"Referendum on Conscience" is not your everyday politics. No, wait a minute, maybe it is. Either way, Truscott's writing will make you a believer.