An engaging, essential novel for readers who feel disenfranchised by the political process.


A promising young woman is undone by her political aspirations in Wood’s (Please Be Ad-Vised, 2013) latest novel.

The author returns with a potent tale about the corrupting influence of power and its tragic consequences for one family. The story follows Samantha Harrison as she gets an MBA and law degree, marries one of her former professors, distinguishes herself as a prosecutor and eventually runs for public office. When the story opens in 2016, she’s the Republican presidential candidate running against Hillary Clinton in what promises to be a historic election. Wood tells Harrison’s story using three methods: lengthy quotes from her campaign speeches that illustrate her worldview, italicized text that offers readers a glimpse into her thought processes (“Jesus, if the president of the United States can’t affect markets, who controls America: the people or the boardrooms?”), and the chronological story of her life. The author juggles these angles with impressive formal control, and they ultimately provide a deeper portrait of Harrison than a traditional narrative would. By contrasting her wishy-washy and sometimes-laughable political pronouncements with her consistently nasty and dismissive internal commentary, readers can see the candidate as someone who believes in nothing more than her own advancement. The overall story confirms this assessment: Harrison alienates her Washington-hating husband, becomes estranged from her resentful daughter, and contributes directly to her son’s death in a bizarre section which reads like a military thriller. Even as she and those around her claim to be disgusted by Washington’s hypocrisies and shallow machinations, she skips happily up the political ladder; apparently, she’s so deft at playing the political game that she runs essentially unchallenged until the presidential election. A late chance at redemption offers a glimmer of hope, but ultimately, it shows Harrison as a cynical master of petty calculation. Wood’s unflinching look at what it takes to get ahead in Washington is bleak but feels authentic. Readers may find themselves deflated by the novel’s cynical take on politics, but they may also find satisfaction in the way it eviscerates its deeply unlikable main character. Harrison never quite gets her just deserts, but by the end of the novel, it’s very clear how far she has fallen.

An engaging, essential novel for readers who feel disenfranchised by the political process.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4849-2652-9

Page Count: 294

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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