Of Good & Evil
by Daniel G. Miller
Houndstooth Books

"She never dreamed that her opponent would be her own daughter."

Cristina Culebra has it all—beauty, prosperity, and scads of power. As president of the Republic of Enlightenment and Democracy, she entices fifteen states to secede from the United States with promises of lower crime rates, good schools, and solid infrastructure, among many other improvements she successfully delivers as the story opens. As her political career advances, starting with California, the astounding successes sway even conservative Texas to secede from the union. But there's a darker side to the endeavor as Cristina's RED internet network and RED TV keep order and unity within their party echo chambers.

While Cristina's successes captivate the world, some people see the cracks in the Red Army's façade. Cristina's former colleague, mathematics professor Albert Puddles, understands the intricacies of economics, politics, and power, so he has many reasons to be skeptical of the movement. His allies, known as the Book Club, plot to bring him out of exile. To further complicate matters, a mysterious entity known only as the Cipher emerges to disrupt both the new and the old republics with high-tech antics, encouraging people to seek the unvarnished truth.

Armed with relevant, timely scenarios, this political thriller wends its way through a set of clues left by the Cipher in a quickly evolving Dan Brown style. The writing is descriptive and crisp, but the story sometimes skims along the surface with predictable character development, traits not unexpected in fast-paced, plot-driven thrillers. There's still much to admire that will enthrall readers. The powerful plot with its divided nation rings true, a plausible dilemma created by opposing political viewpoints in an era plagued by a host of social and economic crises. This tale will spur readers to wonder if America has already circumvented one enticing but flawed political structure to face yet another while considering how best to move forward.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home