Bodnar’s novel tackles alcoholism, sexual addiction, self-control and forgiveness.
From college party life, through two tours in Vietnam, and into his professional and family life, Sam’s abuse of alcohol deepens. Sam drinks when he’s depressed, when there’s something to celebrate and to calm his nerves after work. His alcohol consumption continues to seep into his daily routine when he drinks during lunch at his local bar and before going out with friends. Mary, his college sweetheart and wife, tolerates it when he sneaks downstairs at night to drink after everyone goes to sleep and returns to bed blackout drunk. But not for long. Soon, Mary asks him to sleep in the spare room. She says, “I don’t want to sleep with someone who always stinks of alcohol.”Shunned by his wife, Sam takes refuge in his friendship with his co-worker Jane. He feels completely safe talking with her about his growing depression, and Jane and Sam begin an affair. In hindsight, Sam recognizes that Jane had been enabling his addiction by buying him alcohol, driving him to and from work, and hiding him in the back office when he was too drunk to be seen by clients. But when Sam hits rock bottom, the special women in his life initiate an intervention and help him into rehab. As much about sex as it is about alcohol abuse, this book shows how the combination of the two can be especially destructive. Sex scenes, which vacillate among awkward, titillating and disturbing, are often driven by characters’ insecurities. In this way, sex and alcohol are positioned as complementary drugs. Once Sam gets sober, developing a new way of thinking about sex becomes paramount to his journey from dependence and recovery. While the book attempts to show the complexities of the relationships between characters by regularly shifting points of view, these transitions are often abrupt.
An unornamented look at the affects of addiction on one man’s life.
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.
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.