Monday, November 20, 2017

Review of FDA by Kelli Keith

Kelli Keith

November 19, 2017

Book Title:

Book Author:
Rick Giernoth

Date of Publication:
September 1, 2009

Number of Pages:

Main Characters:
Jack Randolph (a.k.a. Ryan Bennett) a reporter for the Chicago Tribune that regularly reports on cover-ups, conspiracies, and is a general nuisance for the editor.

Martini (a.k.a. Josh Gibson and Jonathan Taylor) is Jack’s confidant, mentor, and a seemingly anti-establishment hippie.

Other Important Characters:
Chelsea, Zip (William), Peter, and Tim are a group of “rebels” out to prove the agencies’ wrongdoings.

The mid-2000’s in multiple locations throughout Canada & the U.S.

Jack Randolph is fired from the Chicago Tribune when “the board” pulls his latest conspiracy story about the government eliminating cures for major diseases.  With the help of his long-time friend, Martini, Jack delves further into the investigation.  It started as a simple pursuit of the truth evolved into a wicked web of lies that cost Jack his safety, security, and love of his life.

Key Points/Conflict:
Jack is summoned to his editor, Mike’s, office and once again lectured on his performance as a reporter.  Mike points out that Jack is not a team player and chooses to ignore employer commands to follow his own hunches/leads.  Jack’s current story on a government conspiracy to cover up cures for cancer is vetoed by the board of the Tribune.  Mike, hesitantly, fires Jack for using one to many chances to do the right thing.  

Jack immediately runs to his friend Josh Gibson, nicknamed Martini, to find a conspiracy hidden in his firing.  It doesn’t take long for the paranoid, anti-establishment Martini to convince Jack that the government owns the papers and is truly hiding the cure for cancer.  Jack decides he must continue to dig so he can expose the truth.  This digging leads Jack to a Dr. Lamb, living in Canada, former head of Starfish Labs and receipt of millions in cleverly hidden grant dollars.  

Upon arrival in Canada, Jack, who has now adopted the person of Ryan Bennett, approaches Dr. Lamb with a disturbing story about his (fictional) dying daughter.  When Dr. Lamb ignores his sob story, Jack hunkers down, planning to work on him over time.  It isn’t long before Jack realizes he is being watched.  

He finally gains an audience with Dr. Lamb, only to be interrupted by agents who swiftly shoot Dr. Lamb and his wife.  Jack jumps through a window and narrowly escapes.  In constant contact with Martini, Jack sets out to find another source for his article.  Ultimately, it is revealed that Martini is part of the agency and is attempting to eliminate Jack by exploiting the years of “friendship” they developed.

This devastating revelation leads Jack to become part of a rebel team devoted to exposing the agency for what it truly is. Peter, Zip, Tim, and Chelsea accept Jack into their group and plan to kidnap Martini for information.

Once the kidnapping is complete, the dark secrets of Martini’s past are revealed.  A plot twist ultimately lends Martini to the side of the rebels where he plans to use his remaining life to atone for his past sins.  Martini secretly kept documents that could bring every level of the agency to its knees.  The team has to retrieve the items and hope that time and luck are on their sides.

Further betrayal, death, and misfortune plague the group as they take on an unseen villain that has poisoned every aspect of the planet.

If you aren’t a paranoid, conspiracy theorist at the beginning of this book, you will be by the end! For the first half of the book, it seems like the main character is a paranoid schizophrenic chasing imaginary shadows in the comfort of his own brain. Jack, although highly intelligent, comes across as extremely self-centered and doggedly persistent.  In the beginning of the book, it is mentioned that Kate is the love of his life and he promises her that he will be home that evening for dinner. Instead of keeping his word, he goes to Martini’s house and stays for two days sorting through corporations for leads on his cure story.  The next time Kate is mentioned, she has been murdered. Jack’s reaction was typical but more so of someone who had lost a security blanket, instead of someone he loved.

The character flaw also reared its head when he posed as a father with a dying daughter to gain the trust of Dr. Lamb and his wife.  For the typical reader, everything else aside, it was this act of deceit that made Jack unlikable.  

Continuity throughout the book was pretty on point, minus an issue or two.  The most prevalent was when Martini’s nose was broken, “His nose snapped; the crack echoed through the cabin (location 38.7%)” it is never mentioned again.  No discussion of cleaning up the blood, splinting his nose, or any later references like, putting on his prosthetics to cover his misshapen nose.

During the house fire, the description of finding Zip’s hip confused this reader.  The house was supposed to incinerate at 5,000 degrees yet, Chelsea was able to go in and pick up a titanium hip replacement with her bare hands, not even three minutes after the blaze ignited.  However, at this point, the reader is so engrossed in what will happen next that they are probably reading too fast to care!

(The mention of Circuit City in chapter twenty-four dates the piece.  The company liquidated and closed the final store in early 2009.)

The ending… ah, the ending.  Mr. Giernoth seems to have left the story open to become a series OR he was unsure how to end this riveting tale.  This reader will err on the author’s side and say he is going to wow us with more adventures where Jack is the lead character.

FDA is available on Amazon, Kobo, at Barnes & Noble, and at the Champagne Bookstore

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