BOOK | FICTION | THRILLER
USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1)
by Larry Kahaner
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When acclaimed and prolific author, investigative journalist, and private investigator Larry Kahaner reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving a copy of his latest thriller, USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1), I was at first skeptical, for the last two books that I read that were pitched to me as “thrillers” – one which I reviewed here and, the other, because I won’t review here any book that I cannot honestly give at least a Three-Star rating, I wouldn’t review – turned out to be less like thrillers and more like romance novels.
However, I was intrigued by Larry’s proposal after checking out his impressive bio; and then, after reading the book’s synopsis and preview, I was hooked, completely, and quickly wrote back to him to accept his kind offer.
And I’m truly grateful that I did because I found in Larry’s book a Five-Star Story that is fresh, fast, topical, and, yes, quite thrilling to read.
Literary fiction is my natural space for my literary endeavors; mostly, because I find they instruct me about life in ways foreign or less apparent to my way of living and thinking, often while set in surreal, nightmarish environments completely alien to my own. And the literature I like best (Kafka) instructs without the pedantry (Dickens) and overbearing, lifelike details (Balzac) that I look to literature to escape from in the first place…and which I too often find in genre fiction.
Which is why USA, Inc. is a rare gem of a genre fiction find for me.
In it, Larry draws us into two seemingly mundane elements of everyday life – of which I, personally, had no idea or the barest of ideas that they even existed – and, while an exciting page-turner unfolds before us, he informs and instructs us about them in ways that are spun seamlessly into the tale without once any pedantic droning on or slowing things down with piles of irrelevant minutia or mouthfuls of meaningless jargon (more is often less, no?) that a less experienced writer might have to resort to in an effort to establish his or her subject matter chops.
For instance, the story’s protagonist, Mike Wardman, is a former FBI agent who, because of reasons I won’t reveal, is relegated to working for the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement. Essentially, Wardman is a “fish cop.” I mean, who knew such a world even existed? Not I. And, yes, I checked – it really is a thing. And by the time the book concludes, without even realizing it, compared to the Average American, you will be an expert regarding the subject of “fish cops.”
And, who knew that rocks at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Maryland were valued in the making of concrete? Yes, again, not I. And yes, again, you will be well informed regarding this subject matter at the book’s conclusion.
But what really rocks about this book is how, by throwing into the mix an Evil Capitalist bent on exploiting the American Political System for his own nefarious means, Larry intertwines these two mundane elements into an international tale of murder, corruption, greed, and, yes, love (just enough it and no more to remind us that even the toughest of heroes are prone to inflictions of the heart).
Speaking of inflictions, while I regard myself as a political person who may or may not be more versed in the mundanity of American Politics than the Average American, I found one of the most intriguing aspects of the book to be its revelation of a loophole in our political system that I knew nothing about, and, if it were to be truly exploited like the antagonist in the story does, it could really make our “American Way of Life” way more different than our idea of it is now.
Yes, I’m being intentionally vague here because this element of story is so cool that I really want you to have the same, highly regarded “WTF Moment” that I had.
Yeah, good stuff, indeed.
One note of caution. This is a story of “today,” meaning, that it could be happening right now. And some readers will want to draw conclusion that Larry rode/wrote this story on the coattails of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency.
Larry began writing this novel before the last primary season began, for one thing. And, for another, without turning this into a personal, ideological post (you can scroll down my blog stream for my political views and opinions regarding President Trump), Richard Kane, the Evil Capitalist and antagonist of the story, is nothing like Trump: their personalities are different, their intellects are different, their businesses are different, and, most importantly, their use and/or exploitation of the political system is different.
So when I say USA, Inc. is topical to today’s events, I do not mean it mirrors them. Consequently, I caution you to not let your politics prevent you from exploring this political, among other things, thriller of a book.
Fortunately, Larry has agreed to write a guest post for us where he will discuss more in detail how Kane and Trump compare and contrast and will introduce us to the bizarre political loophole that is foundational to his book’s story and its success, all of which I will be sharing with you here in a day or two. In the interim, I strongly encourage you to check out his book below and do a quick search on Larry himself. I guarantee you will be impressed by both his book and his bona fides.
FROM THE BOOK’S AMAZON PAGE:
Relegated to the low end of the law enforcement food chain after his fall from grace at the FBI, Mike Wardman vows to find the people responsible for the murder of his ex-fiancée and uncovers a plot to topple the government of the United States. The action spreads from Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean island of Nevis as Mike uncovers a maniacal billionaire’s plot to use a Constitutional loophole to run states like corporations – that only he controls.
CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER TO READ A SAMPLE:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read