3 out of 4 stars
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This is a review for the book USA, Inc. by Larry Kahaner. The book is a political thriller that falls in the C/T/M/H genre. I read this book because of a question that was in the description: “What if the United States were run like a corporation and a madman was in charge?”
USA, Inc. takes place in settings like Washington DC, Chesapeake Bay, and the Caribbean island of Nevis. The story follows Mike Wardman who is a former FBI agent fallen from grace now working for the NOAA. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agents are known as fish cops. Mike’s ex-girlfriend Marilyn (who is also an NOAA agent) is murdered on a boat called the Judy Bee while out on an assignment. Mike teams up with Marilyn’s sister Evelyn and an old friend named Al to find the killer.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the case Wally Hearst is the reason Mike fell from grace in the agency. Hearst is a thorn in Mike’s side the whole story. He tries to take credit each step of the way for the discoveries that Mike and his team make.
Along the way they meet Richard Kane. Richard is a multi-millionaire cell-tech mogul who has political connections all the way up to the Attorney General of the United States. Mike soon uncovers Kane’s plot to have a few Governors use a Constitutional loophole that will allow them to run their states like corporations and be able to offer stocks publically. Kane buys stocks at ‘put’ and then tries to cause the stocks to fall by creating false political climates hoping to make billions in the process.
Who killed Marilyn? Will Hearst succeed in trying to take credit for Mike’s discoveries? Are there any connections between Marilyn’s murder and Richard Kane? Will Kane’s plot to run the country like a corporation come to fruition? Find out when you read USA, Inc. the latest novel by Larry Kahaner and the first book in the Mike Wardman series.
I liked that the book was well edited. It had short chapters which kept the things going at a rapid fire pace. You could tell the technical aspects of the book were well researched by the author. The dialogue was very good. There were anecdotal stories that really helped bring the characters to life. The author added nice touches to scenes that made it seem like you were watching them take place.
What I didn’t like about the story was that because there was so much technical detail and antecdotes it made the ending feel rushed and unsatisfying. The author could have spent more time tying up plot lines and loose ends. Another thing I did not like was that the ending was full of clichés. Every now and then you can have a character say something is cliché, but saying it too many times makes it seem like it is not original and that you have read it before.
I give USA, Inc. 3 out of 4 stars for the reasons mentioned above. The book is recommended for adults who like political thrillers. This is Larry Kahaner’s first fictional book. I enjoyed his writing style and look forward to the next book in the Mike Wardman series.
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