2 out of 4 stars
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Final Notice by Van Fleisher is a political novel that addresses gun control and social issues. Vince is a senior citizen who never thought about gun ownership. After being physically assaulted, he notices the NRA is offering a senior discount and decides to research buying a gun. Meanwhile, an elderly suspect named Quentin volunteers to test Final Notice, a new device that can predict the wearer’s imminent death. Faced with his final days, Quentin shoots and murders a man, hours before his own demise. Unfortunately, Quentin’s bizarre behavior is not an isolated case. Who is responsible for the rise in violence from previously nonviolent individuals? Is it the gun, the shooter, or the company behind the Final Notice?
I enjoyed the author’s writing style early on and thought his characters were quite relatable. Vince, in particular, seemed like somebody I could have met somewhere and had a conversation with. I also loved that the dog’s name was Miles since that’s the name of my own dog. I especially liked the author’s sympathy and understanding for the elderly. He gets that some people feel vulnerable and that’s why they want a gun. The culture of disrespect for seniors is something I appreciated him drawing attention to. The plot was okay but could have been developed a bit more in my opinion. While reading, I got the impression that the book was written more as a commentary on gun rights and social issues than as a genuine story. The plot and the characters were less important than making an argument based on the author’s beliefs.
I read this book with an open mind, and it seemed like the author tried to be fair. At least, I thought he made attempts to temper his views, but as I read on, I noticed his bias shone through more and more. He has no idea what Sean Hannity sounds like. When he tried to write a dialogue for Sean, it was clear he’s never listened to the man talk. Sean’s only role was to be a right wing scapegoat for the author’s criticism of the NRA. By contrast, his Wolf Blitzer impersonation was perfect, and I actually laughed when a report on gun violence led into a story about Russia. Later on, a group of people discussed various political issues. Unfortunately, the author’s bias was very prevalent during this section of the novel. He failed to remain neutral and engaged in veiled attacks against the president and his supporters. The author’s regard for the mainstream media as the only “real” news and advocacy for left wing comedians failed to persuade me against doing independent research. He sounded like a typical shill for the establishment who, while articulate in his views, has no independence of mind to actually look beyond the surface because it adheres to his worldview.
The author’s main purpose for the book was to discuss guns. He seemed to think numbers and Google search engine results would prove impressive to all the ignorant readers out there. He rattled off statistics for gun ownership, deaths, etc. that slowed the narrative and illustrated how easy it is to research firearms. I think the author intended for the stats to be educational, but I found it grating and bordering on propaganda. Statistics only reflect the bias of the people surveyed, which is true whether it’s a left or right issue.
The author’s reverence for Apple products bordered on idolization. Sometimes I felt like I was reading an advertisement for the company. He went way overboard on how much better a Mac is compared to Windows. He also name-dropped Starbucks, CNN, and various other bloated companies (Google) to the point I wondered if he wasn’t getting paid by the political and corporate establishment to do so.
I rated this book 2 out of 4 stars. I might have enjoyed Final Notice more if the author focused on developing the plot and hadn’t made his views superior over others’. Self-righteousness and condescension for hardworking Americans are the exact reasons people on all sides are fleeing the establishment. His pandering to the tech and media gods was likewise repulsive. Is this book thought-provoking? Maybe. But I didn’t get much out of it apart from aggravation.
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