4 out of 4 stars
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by Van Fleisher
A novel about seniors and guns set in a medical context is both interesting and relevant to our times. Final Notice by Van Fleisher combines the intrigue of an exciting new medical breakthrough and its consequences with a controversial plan to arm seniors with weapons for their protection.
Van Fleisher introduces a medical watch using new technology to provide the wearer with an announcement of pending doom in what is called “Final Notice.” The author could have just as well titled his work: “Possible Consequences.” Starting out with “a grave threat to senior citizens” the author quickly plunges us into the main subjects of his novel: seniors, guns, and the threat of death. The plot is complicated but quite realistically portrayed by an author who knows something about the subjects. He may even be a Senior! The reader will be fascinated by a story of people confronted by age, violence, and technology. In fact, he writes so well that at the end he reminds the reader “Remember, this is a work of fiction.” (Fleisher, Van. FINAL NOTICE: What would you do if you knew – for certain – that you had 10 days to live? (Kindle Locations 39846-39849). Kindle Edition.)
This story is connected to the senior couple, Vince and Trudi, by the television news and circumstances beyond their control. It traces their awakening response to their situation in life as they have grown older. Van Fleisher develops the plot around a diverse set of characters: a senior couple, a national organization, law enforcement, a medical development team, a distraught veteran, an FBI team, a brave immigrant family, a sad scientist, and a Senator who changed his mind.
The chronology is easy to follow which takes the reader along the path of life Vince and Trudi travel. Using place names as pegs, the author takes the reader from the West coast to East coast of America. The story always returns to the seniors involved. Van Fleisher gives the following as the reason for his novel: “Our country needs to re-examine our attitude toward seniors … put a stop to profit-driven legislation that puts gun sales before human lives … and elect politicians who set the right tone of civility, as well as uphold our constitution. And finally, we can’t afford to lose our role as the beacon of hope for the world’s best and brightest. Let’s keep that welcome mat out.” (Fleisher, Locations 39860-39864).
What I like most is that the plot develops through events created by characters who live out their joys and frustrations in 21st century America. Two underlining themes emerge as one reads this book: fear of the death; and, a medical prognosis is always correct. What I liked least about the book is the lack of connections by the writer between chapters to smoothly lead the reader from one scene to the next. However, subplots are well crafted and, the reader can follow the storyline easily. The skillful use of backstory for the main characters – seniors, doctors, and a Senator - is useful in building tension. The perspective of the book is modern America where the number of seniors is increasing, guns are more and more available, and medical technology gallops ahead. The dialogue is extensive and helpful in showing the thinking of the characters.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Giving the book this rating assures that a reader will gain increasing respect for seniors and how they think. Treatments for gun control and medical expansion are enlightening. I recommend the book to an adult interested in a thoughtful treatment of the stresses and strains of American culture. Reading a book like this does much to stretch the knowledge of the reader and introduce him or her to the possible consequences of coping with modern society. The reader will be enriched.
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