In the wake of the latest media blitz, capitalizing on the school shooting in Connecticut, I figured it was as good a time as any to review the first book in a trilogy written by Matthew Bracken. Bracken, a former Navy SEAL, is someone who believes in the 2nd Amendment, and his trilogy fictionalizes the federal government's war against individual rights.
It probably won't be long before somebody labels this book prophetic. And in some ways it is. Not that the author is clairvoyant--he just has paid enough attention to history and current events to notice the patterns and extrapolate from there.
Bracken has put some well-drafted characters into the mix. What mix? Some of tomorrow's headlines, and the real stories behind them. Tomorrow, that is, if you refuse to believe that the sort of false-flag operations he depicts are already happening.
As a work of fiction, what's refreshing to see is that the characters make sloppy mistakes and bad decisions that real people do...and usually pay for it. But even when they are smart and extremely careful, Big Brother can still track them down and bring the pain. Yet there are other characters who make mistakes (like the sniper that got cut around the eye by his scope) and don't wind up paying for them. Plausible.
Ranya Bardiwell is easily the smartest "good guy" in the book. The Lebanese-American beauty has had no formal military training as have most of the other citizens forced into conflict with their government, yet she accomplishes some impressive feats and makes very few mistakes along the way.
Brad Fallon is a likeable guy who just wants to live free and mind his own business. He has worked hard and saved to fix up a boat he plans to sail away from the police state our country is becoming. But fate and the evil ambitions of fascist control freaks (who happen to be just incrementally smarter than Eric Holder) will soon drive Brad, Ranya and some other law-abiding citizens together, hunted down as enemies of the State.
My only "problems" with this novel come down to matters of opinion:
First, the Mini-14 is called a "crummy rifle." I wholeheartedly disagree. True, it is not as accurate as the M16A2 and later AR variants. But it is far more dependable over time (and in any environment) than the AR15 family, speaking from personal experience.
More importantly, Bracken portrays our national descent into socialist police-statehood as orchestrated by over-zealous ATF nazis, while the individuals at the highest levels of government are hapless dupes, innocent of the false flag black ops making their own agenda a reality. That strikes me as a naive worldview, made necessary by the presumption that conspiracy is impossible. (After all, conspiracy theory is a hate-filled, farfetched, cockamamie fabrication of the vast right-wing conspiracy, ain't it?)
Compare press coverage of Fast & Furious with press coverage of this school shooting that just took place. The former has been swept under the rug, while the latter will continue to be hyped at least until the next atrocity. Fast & Furious, at last count, was responsible for roughly ten times the murders of those comitted at the school shooting. One reason for the glaring double standard is that Holder's "Justice Department" was caught red-handed committing a false flag operation. The crisis was revealed as a fabrication, and so it went to waste. This conveniently timed atrocity against children in Connecticut has not been revealed as a fabrication. This crisis will not go to waste. Though small potatoes compared to the murders perpetrated by Attorney General Eric Holder, this story will continue to be rammed into the consciousness of the culture relentlessly.
If you don't recognize the pattern, or the agenda, there's no use in trying to explain it to you, anyway.
This is a well-written book, but there's too much truth in it for an intelligent reader to be comfortable cuddling up with it. Escapism, it is not.
Oh yeah--what kept me from reading Bracken's books for so long was the exorbitant price. Electronic versions were priced around $10; paperbacks double that, or more. I obtained this E-book as a result of a free giveaway, or I might never have read it. But I'm happy to report that the prices have been reduced to a much more competitive level. This one was $4.99 and Castigo Cay was $6.99 last I checked. Still a bit steep for E-books, but not ridiculous, either.