A timely caricature of the worst and the best of American politics.

The President Factor

THE REALITY SHOW THAT ROCKED A NATION

Incisive political satire by television veteran and debut novelist Obermeier that features two banes of modern-day society—bipartisan posturing and reality television shows.

Handsome, charismatic, and single, Sen. Adhemar Reyes (D-NY) is unaware how much his life will change when he suggests that presidential candidates should have to participate in a reality show to prove how they’ll perform in office. Months later, he finds himself cast with Sen. Zeniba “ZeeBee” St. George (D-MA) against Gov. Beau Simpson (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Charleston (R-FL). Equal parts sly and stupid, Beau has partnered with a comically dumb running mate. The contestants’ first problem: how to deal with a proposed Russian invasion of Finland. While the Republican candidates jet off to Finland in order to beat Adhemar and ZeeBee to Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, the Democrats travel to Chad to meet with actual combat troops. In Finland, Beau and Mike enjoy native delicacies while Beau blusters and claims to have a “plan.” Later, an absurd right-wing commentator suggests that the Hispanic Adhemar is actually of African descent. What Beau lacks in intelligence, he tries to make up in cunning, although in the end, he gets caught in his own trap. He enlists the help of the incumbent Republican president, who, in turn, attempts to coerce ZeeBee’s CIA agent spouse, Sam, into providing insider information. However, Beau is too stupid to realize he is being conned. Obermeier’s story has an obvious political bias that will be hilarious to some readers and infuriating to others. Its cadre of secondary characters isn’t as nuanced as the delicious Adhemar and ZeeBee, but the most intriguing player is the underused Marisol, Adhemar’s mother. The eponymous television show, The President Factor, effectively illustrates the inevitable spin that commentators, editors, and producers can put on even the most innocent statements. Adhemar’s epiphany—that some people can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality—defines the novel’s more serious purpose.

A timely caricature of the worst and the best of American politics.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Cold Cat Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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