Full of passion and ideas but wedged in an awkward place between fiction and policy.



A group of former students works to spread the word about a unique approach to building healthier communities.

In 1996, Mr. Hoffer, a civics teacher at Bloomfield High in California, brought a group of his students to nearby Mapleton High School. They were there to learn about Another Way, Mapleton’s unique, wildly successful townwide system of public service and volunteerism. It’s based on the idea that people are innately good, and, if organized and working together, they’re better able to handle challenges in their community than the federal government. During a wide-ranging meeting with the Mapleton students, the Bloomfield kids learned the general outline of the Another Way system, and they also formed lasting bonds with their hosts. Fifteen years later, Another Way is going strong in Bloomfield, and former Mapleton star athlete and pro basketball player Lincoln Williams, one of the students at the 1996 meeting, is now a public figure and an outspoken Another Way advocate. During a meeting of some of the original Thirteen, as the 11 students and two teachers who attended the meeting in Mapleton in 1996 are called, a student suggests that Williams should run for office. After some soul-searching, Williams agrees to run for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives on a platform based on the fundamental principles underlying Another Way, with help from the Thirteen. This is book one in a planned six-volume series, which will follow the Thirteen through the year 2050. According to the prologue, Bohannon-Kaplan decided to frame her ideas in the form of a novel because more people read fiction than read books about public policy. Unfortunately, this results in a somewhat unwieldy hybrid—a policy book that lacks focus due to the demands of fiction and a novel that’s too often slowed to a crawl by extended policy discussions and philosophical debate. Still, the prose is clear and direct, and whether or not readers agree with Bohannon-Kaplan’s vision, they’re bound to appreciate her enthusiasm.

Full of passion and ideas but wedged in an awkward place between fiction and policy.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011


Page Count: 258

Publisher: Wellington Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2012

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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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