Christian-pleasing epic of conspiracy and war.


The Flight of the Mayday Squadron


From the The Mayday Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Madison offers an alternate history of the Vietnam War in this debut Christian thriller.

Drawing heavily from conspiracies related to the New World Order, Madison serves up a novel of war and intrigue on an epic scale. After learning that the string of the American government are being pulled by Medusa—a shadowy organization best described as “a diaphanous horror-hybrid of technology, economics, psychology, politics, and religion”—the reader is introduced to David Rixon, a West Texas orphan raised by the Christian and kind Gonzales family. Rixon grows up to serve the U.S. military in Vietnam, where he commands the counterintelligence “Omega” outpost. Working to protect the people of South Vietnam from the ravages of the Communist north, Rixon discovers a more insidious enemy at work in the war, this one based inside his own government. With the help of his stateside father, Jose Gonzales, Rixon uncovers a conspiracy centuries in the making, one involved in such earth-shattering events as the rise of Hitler and the Kennedy assassination. As if a powerful shadow order weren’t enough to contend with on its own, evidence leads Rixon to suspect that hidden behind the enemy is an even worse evil. The worst evil, in fact: the sworn enemy of the God in whom Rixon was raised to believe. Madison is a highly effective storyteller, masterfully tempting readers forward from one revelation to the next. Even so, the dogmatic plot and its politics often prevent total immersion. Like much conspiracy literature, the book has a decidedly libertarian bent, highly suspicious of elites, banks, and governments. The novel’s defining quality, however, is its overt and fundamental Christianity. It is this religiosity that contributes to the novel’s ultimate tedium, reliant, as it is, on that religion’s well-trodden eschatology. The end is predictably apocalyptic: higher powers intervene, cosmic battles are waged, and a small group of believers finds deliverance through the power of prayer. Devout readers may find the premise exciting, but the more secular will likely find this novel to be preachy and overly reliant on (literal) deus ex machina. Two more works in a planned trilogy will follow.

Christian-pleasing epic of conspiracy and war.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4935-2839-4

Page Count: 596

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2015

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.


A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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