Meet Vi Asplund, a young Secret Service agent mourning her dead father. Meet her brother, Jens, who is poised to make a fortune on Big If, a nihilistic computer game aimed at teenagers. View American society as Vi sees it in those around her.
Half a dozen Secret Service members, their spouses, parents, children, and lovers; an equal number of computer programmers for Big If, a multiplayer war game on the Web; and the Vice-President, his staff, and campaign workers constitute a huge cast of characters, but each is so idiosyncratic, and the minutiae of his/her daily life so completely articulated, that the characters are memorable, if not fully developed. As Costello expands his scope beyond that of the campaign, he pokes fun at child-rearing practices, prison work-release programs, the real estate market, the expectations of newly-moneyed trophy wives, the addiction to violent computer games, and even the get-out-the-vote efforts of campaign volunteers.
The reader must be patient with this novel. Plot is not a major concern, as the book meanders through the lives and backgrounds of multiple characters. Vi Asplund, the main character, receives only slightly more emphasis than other characters, and conflict and dramatic action are minimal, dependent more upon the characters' past histories than upon new events. Delightful metaphors ("a tall, soft sofa of a boy," "a snippy poodle kind of sneeze") are sprinkled throughout, but they are sometimes buried in long lists of detail.Read more ›
We were expecting a cross between the West Wing and 24 - oh how disappointed we were!
There were many leading characters and the only one mentioned on the cover, Felker, figured very little. Time and time again you'd get loads of details about a character that never led anywhere. In the case of one of the agents we got a far more graphic description of his sex life than anyone needed - again detail for the sake of it.
We all kept hoping that perhaps something exciting would happen - well it didn't! The only thing remotely exciting happened within the last chapter and even then ended in a damp squib.
If you are looking for an exciting book with Federal Agents gone bad, assasination plots or basically anything even remotely interesting - don't buy this book!
The author missed chance after chance to turn this book around... such a shame.
There will be 8 copies from our book group at a car boot sale near you very soon!
Oh and I think Amazon should introduce a '0 star' rating as I think all in our group would agree that 1 star is being charitably generous.