Don McGraw,
Sins of a Nation
(Bridgeway, 2007)

One of the joys of modern crime fiction is the fact that society is open enough to accept all manner of speculation without fear of censorship or legal action. This novel certainly makes good use of this openness and provides the reader with a fast-paced story that just begs to be filmed. The premise and storyline, the characters and plot all combine to cinematic effect as you read this compulsive page-turner.

It is timely with the presidential racers on the starting blocks in the U.S. to read this tale of intrigue -- and scary to realise that, despite the apparent checks and balances of the modern world, the plot could happen if enough people in power decided to abuse it. The story centers on a presidential race and gives interesting insights into how politics can operate at that level.

We then get a killing and the moral dilemma faced by the central character, Janelle Harcourt. Harcourt is yet another of the crop of feisty female characters to people current crime fiction, but she has a very human side that is very well portrayed. The same can be said of the slightly rebellious FBI agent, another essential ingredient of the thriller.

One acid test of a book must be how the reader relates to the characters, major and minor. For me this came when I almost cheered when one of the baddies got his comeuppance in a rather novel way -- I can say no more for fear of spoiling the story.

I truly enjoyed this book but I do have one small point to make to the author and his editors. Please do not rely on spellcheck. It has allowed some annoying errors into the novel that can bug pedantic readers like me. For instance there are a number of times where "aside" is used where "beside" is the proper word and "peak" is there in place of "peek."

review by
Nicky Rossiter

25 August 2007

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