Nelson Cover

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BY Nelson Cover

Cover (Danced by the Light of the Moon, 2013) offers a thriller about a college professor whose career and life are threatened when he learns about his university’s acceptance of shady donations.

Thomas Simpson is an associate professor of communications at Sessions University, where his best friend, Zoltan Vastag, is a senior cancer researcher. One night at the university’s faculty club they encounter Frank Lusby, the chief consultant of university president Bryan Q. Fitz-Hugh’s Campaign for Progress. He asks Thomas, “If you had one word of advice for the president, what would it be?” Thomas suggests that Fitz-Hugh should use podcasts and printed think pieces to inform his constituency about the campaign, which aims, among other goals, to make Sessions energy self-sufficient within five years. Lusby then invites Thomas and Zoltan to a campus reception, where they meet free-spirited billionaire Mark Berger, who’s on Sessions’ board of trustees. Berger quickly takes a liking to Thomas, and Lusby later suggests Thomas parlay the relationship into a donation to the campaign. Fitz-Hugh has already secured millions for the Beijing Center, which is integral to placing Sessions on the global stage. But when Thomas eventually learns the reality behind Fitz-Hugh's campaign, he’s already in too deep, thanks in part to the seductive Ursula Mueller, who works at the university. In this novel, Cover effectively portrays the struggle of many American professionals trying to balance life at work and at home. To that end, Thomas’ family members are well-developed: 15-year-old daughter Sarah is brilliant but bored in high school; his younger son, Tommie, has a developmental disorder that he and his psychologist wife, Janet, are reluctant to label. Cover also interestingly parallels Tommie’s obsession with loud, shiny firetrucks and Thomas’ entanglements in Fitz-Hugh’s machinations. Thomas isn’t a very sympathetic narrator, though, as he easily glides into an affair with Ursula and smugly describes his wife on the couch as reading “the latest deep and meaningful historical novel selected by her book club.” Overall, however, the narrative’s modest pace and eerie plausibility succeed.

A slow-burning thriller that reveals the seedy politics of higher learning in America.

Pub Date:

ISBN: 978-1-944037-68-0

Page count: 292pp

Publisher: Epigraph Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2017


Danced By The Light Of The Moon

Danced By The Light of the Moon is the story of a charter sailboat vacation in the Virgin Islands gone terribly wrong. Ramsey Flynn, retired from the State Department, organizes bareboat charter vacations several times a year among friends and acquaintances. For his efforts, and the accompanying quality and cost savings enjoyed by his fellow travelers, he and a companion travel at no cost. For this cruise in the Virgin Islands he has organized two boats of an odd but paid in full mix of experienced and inexperienced sailors. They quickly discover that all is not right with the shady charter company Flynn has hooked them up with at a considerable discount, with their boats and with the weather which turns deadly. Join them as they try everything in their experience to save themselves.
Published: Nov. 15, 2013
ISBN: 978-14931-2856-3