The Lafayette Campaign: a Tale of Deception and Elections (Frank Adversego Thrillers Book 2) Kindle Edition
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The scene is set in the US just a few months before a highly contentious presidential election. There are characters with larger-than-life personalities and plot twists that at first seem “oh that can’t happen” which is followed immediately by “yes it can, or, “Oh no, so that’s what happened!”
The multi-talented Andy Updegrove is the author of this fun yet thought-provoking read. Having spent time in politics and the tech world, I can easily spot someone guessing the details – but that did not happen in this case. The author clearly took the time to do his research and produce a read that is both an imagination-stretcher but also scarily probable.
Here’s the kicker – to my opening comments of “scarily prescient” – this book was written and published well before this recent election. I read this in the final throes of the election and I found myself many times putting down my Kindle in amazement asking “How did he see that coming?” Buy this book for a great holiday read or for a gift for someone that wants to understand what may well have occurred.
Frank AdversegoThe Lafayette Campaign: a Tale of Deception and Elections (Frank Adversego Thrillers Book 2), where were you on November 8, 2016?
His storytelling mastery is enough for me to follow him anywhere, no matter the subject matter of his novels. But as it turns out, this political thriller was not only all too timely and topical, but shines a light on our world in a way that desperately needs doing. Our political institutions are in shambles in the U.S., with corruption run rampant, and getting nearly as bad as one would expect in any 2nd or 3rd world country; of course, we might arguably be a 2nd or 3rd world country now that the top one percent have vacuumed up the wealth in this country from the remaining 99%. Bernie Saunders is the first candidate to come along that suggests the American people might just finally be getting duly fed up with the carpetbaggers and multibillionaires calling the shots behind the scenes, owning candidates in the senate, congress, and the judiciary down both sides of the aisle, having swapped out our democracy for an oligarchy in the dead of night. If that doesn’t make you fuming mad, it should. But maybe you just don’t tune in your reality anymore because who could face such horror dead on? Well, not to worry, apparently you can get a sharper picture of it by reading The Lafayette Campaign than can be relayed through the headline news of the Big Brother media whose sole purpose is to distract you from what’s really going on behind the scenes. As you consume the pages of this novel don’t be surprised to find that that the truth is even more horrific than you could have imagined. And if you have so much as one solo activist blood cell circulating through your body, trust me, it’ll have taken over the rest of you by the time you’ve finished reading. For it isn’t just politics that’s bent in this technothriller, it’s the technology that Americans rely on for electing their politicians, for judging the truth. It’s automation and computers and our very high-tech world that we can rest assured is out to get us if we don’t keep a wary eye on it and the people who are very adept at working it towards their own ends.
But enough high level talk and speaking in abstractions and generalizations; I want to roll up my sleeves and discuss some of the more captivating plot and character points of this story (at least for me; feel free to point out some of your own.) Coming up short of handing out spoilers. First off, the well-researched author, armed with the facts, did a lot to expand my understanding of the state of spy-craft post 9-11. I think you too will be surprised over just how much more is going on behind the scenes than you ever imagined, and that will ever be publicly acknowledged. I’ve remained a long-time fan of Tom Clancy novels for the same reason, these behind-the-scenes eye-openers. But things have continued to evolve quite a bit since Clancy’s day. I appreciated finding that I could still get my fix through this author. Most of us find reality scary enough with what we do know of how things work; trust me, heightened awareness rises to spine-chilling levels the more truth is revealed through the flipped pages of this piece of “fiction.”
I had some trepidation over how the author was going to make the ins and outs of computer hacking work without my eyes rolling to the back of my head. I enjoy the techno in techno-thrillers, but one could easily lose me if one were determined to speak the private language of genius geeks. My experience reading The Lafayette campaign was just the opposite. The author did a great job hand-holding me through the more technical stuff and making it interesting, as well, with appropriate analogies. It’s no small challenge writing in a way that is as inviting to a cyber-hacker as it is to a novice, but Updegrove pulls it off.
Frank, our protagonist, is a very personable hero. Allegedly trying to write a book to cover his prior exploits counter-hacking for the government, he admits rather openly to not being able to get past the first paragraph. He wanders the desert lost in search of inspiration in his tricked-out camper, only to find himself pouring his mind out over the vista instead of the page. I found his mind easy to inhabit, because though a highly flawed human being, much like the rest of us, I found I could easily identify with a lot of thoughts flying through his head; they were thoughts I’d be having in the same situation, minus of-course, the techno-genius bits of inspiration. And after a while, the spellbinding nature of the writing had me thinking that even those thoughts were popping out of my head.
As the plot wends on with twists and turns it also thickens, and we find that there are numerous dubious parties working at cross-purposes, but all gambling on being able to electronically rig an election. The ugly politics and deal-making in the background feels all too-real, as does the election being rigged, filled as it is with characters too obscenely insane with their proposals to be taken seriously as candidates—you know, just like the ones running for the Republican party now, extremists, racists, bomb-our-economy-back to the Stone Age-types, not to mention the, “We’ll-say anything to get into office, and do any damn thing we want once inside, so long as it’s in keeping with the handful of super-rich puppet masters and detrimental to the ninety-nine percent of Americans (and if at all possible to the ninety-nine percent of humanity.”) In short the story is rife with all the context not usually found in the nightly-news about today’s campaign shenanigans.
Let me wrap up by saying…
This is one of a half a dozen best-in-class books or so I’ve read in the last year that deserves to be a bestseller—all penned by indie authors and folks represented by small, nearly unknown publishers. Which just convinces me there’s no justice in the world. At least until readers start venturing more boldly where others fear to tread.
The book was OK, but not great. As in the first book, some parts dragged and seemed repetitive. The writing is better than the first book but not as good as in the third book.
I liked the author’s coverage of the election by “Pox News.”
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