4 out of 4 stars
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Final Notice is a thought-provoking, fiction novel written by Van Fleisher. The main character, Vijay Patel, invents a sports watch that can analyze, diagnose and predict health issues. His watch, the VT2, is so precise it can also detect minute changes in the body indicating impending death by natural causes. The watch is programmed to beep and display a Final Notice warning. Vijay forms VitalTech Corporation and partners with a team of private equity investors and marketing experts to launch his sports watch. The experts suggest marketing his watch to senior citizens. This would enable them to get their affairs in order and notify family and friends once a Final Notice message is received. The company does an initial alpha testing of the sports watches using one hundred senior citizens.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association (NRA) launches a major sales campaign. They advertise concerns over the growing acts of violence being perpetrated against senior citizens. They offer discounts to allow them to purchase guns for protection. Vijay and his team are horrified when they learn that several participants in their alpha testing group have responded to their Final Notice warnings by purchasing guns and going on shooting sprees.
Married senior citizens Trudi and Vince Fuller are also main characters in this novel. We learn that Vince has been the victim of a violent assault that has left him embarrassed and angry. He starts considering purchasing one of the NRA guns for protection. Trudi disagrees and is reluctant to have a gun in her home. These two characters represent the thinking of the average consumer considering a gun purchase. As they debate the pros and cons of gun ownership, they react to the news reports on the spree killings being committed by members of the VT2 alpha testing group. Trudi and Vince have a diverse group of immigrant friends. Their discussions about racial inequality, hate crimes, and violence also impact their debate on purchasing a gun.
I was very impressed with this novel. The author brilliantly managed a large cast of complex characters. Every character, no matter how minute, had a purpose that was critical to moving the novel along. Every new character was introduced at precisely the correct time to align the three major plots. The dialog was all well written and realistic. The author provided detailed background information about all the major characters. Even the members of the VT2 alpha testing group were given detailed histories. This made it easy to understand some of the decisions that were made after receiving a Final Notice. The character development was probably one of the most valuable assets to this novel.
The events in Final Notice align with what is currently happening in our country. The stories about discrimination and the poor treatment of immigrants were especially touching to me. I also have a diverse group of friends. These stories were unfortunately very familiar to me. We should never assume, judge, harass, or generalize people. This novel makes you stop and think about what we can do to change things. I applaud the author for addressing so many controversial topics in an informative and entertaining way.
If I had any criticism it would be that the novel was very biased against the NRA and gun ownership. It portrays the NRA as an organization that will do anything to make money and will put a gun in the hands of anyone that has the money. Arguably, arming senior citizens without any assessment of their health and mental well-being would be really quite irresponsible. Nevertheless, I had not given much thought to the pros and cons of the NRA before reading this novel. However, it was hard to miss the animosity the author holds for this organization. Did this hurt the quality of the novel? I do not think so. The passion for change and the disdain the author has for this organization helped create this brilliant novel. This novel makes me want to become more educated about this organization.
I rate Final Notice 4 out of 4. I enjoyed reading this novel. This is a complex story which is packed with a lot of detail and description. It appears professionally edited. I found no grammar or spelling errors. It reads very quickly and the different stories flow very smoothly. If you are strongly anti-gun control, then this probably is not the novel for you
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