My review of Talk by Michael Smerconish first appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. Talk is, as you'll see, not a crime novel, but one I not only enjoyed but learned from. No matter your political orientation, this book illustrates through satire, the problems with our system. Talk is a book everyone can benefit from reading. Check it out:
First line: "'Fire, tits and sharks are TV gold.'"
For his first foray into fiction, radio talk host Michael Smerconish points his sharp satirical arrow at the U.S. political system and the role modern media plays in corrupting democracy.
Stanislaw Powlowsky is a radio DJ who falls into the role of talk host when his Tampa/St. Petersburg station transitions from rock music to conservative talk shows. Provided with a “consultant,” Polowsky transitions from a pot-smoking sloucher to Stan Powers, Tea Party activist. He doesn’t share the political beliefs of the Tea Party; he simply enjoys the income his fictional ideology rakes in.
When a shocking announcement from the standing Democratic president leaves the upcoming election in an upheaval, Stan, the conservative voice of the I-4 corridor in swing state, Florida, is positioned to have an unmatched influence on who the next president will be. Determined to be nationally syndicated, Stan sees this opportunity as his golden chance at fame and is willing to sacrifice anything to grab it.
Using a pointedly moderate voice, Smerconish aims at many factors that have moved the U.S.’s political system to a polarized battlefield where compromise and cooperation are as career-threatening as a radio personality dropping the f-bomb on air. From dysfunctional primary elections, to irrelevant mud-slinging to old fashioned greed, the target may be a large one, but Smerconish certainly hit the bull’s eye.
The novel’s colorfully diverse cast and party-neutral tone give this powerful satire a connection point for most any reader. Funny, disturbing and most importantly thought-provoking, Talk is a must read for 2014.
Talk is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781604334906) from Cider Mill Press. There is also an unabridged audio version available through Audible and narrated by James Edward Thomas.