Monday, October 24, 2011

Set Apart

By K.J. McCall

As the country passes its one year anniversary of a federal government health care system, Washington, D.C. Detective Gordon Sand investigates the disappearance of a woman. Within succeeding months, more people go missing, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, his sister (involved in the health department), and his brother (a small town doctor) try to deal with the implementation of prioritizing and categorizing of the American public when it comes to health care rationing.

This is good example comparing the scheming power brokers of government vs. normal Americans living out their lives. I expect more books of this nature to be published. This is a basic approach to the problem with the corrupting of people with power.

Gordon Sand – Detective in the Missing Persons Department. Single. He travels to Pennsylvania to visit family nearly every weekend. He finds himself falling for a local girl.

David Sand – Gordon’s older brother. Doctor in a small town. He has to deal with problems of rules and regulations and seeing the results of waiting lists for health care.

Ada Sand – Works in the department of health. She is the first to see the categorizing of Americans by the system.

There are other good supporting characters including the the kidnappers and their bosses within the health care system. Gordon’s partner is a typical partner. There is a woman president with an ailing son. There are Mary, Gordon’s romantic interest, and her father, a stalwart, religious farmer. All of the characters are well defined. There are no surprises or end of story revelations.

Basic. Simple. Actually, there is relatively little dialogue. It’s not anywhere near the minimalism of a 2001: A Space Odyssey, but what there is doesn’t wander too far from the topic at hand. No profanity. The speaking styles match each character.

This story deals with comparison with the title being good for this type of book. Good, clean community living vs. the shady governmental health care system. Religious upbringing and family values vs. what people will do to stay in power. There are shades of the movie Witness with the romantic entanglements between Gordon and Mary. McCall throws in a realistic version of an ‘urban legend.’ (The one where a person wakes up in a tub full of ice only to discover a kidney missing). I think the way the rationing system and how people are prioritized in this story, explained in laymen’s terms is very possible and most likely probable if (or when) a federal system becomes reality. A very nice comparison to England’s and Canada’s waiting lists system is described. There is not a lot of shoot ‘em up action or long lasting suspense.

I did have a small problem with the way some chapters ended. After a nice detailed description of the small town or certain other areas, the author just ends the chapter with no reason. It’s like she just got interrupted and decided to go onto the next one when she got back to the novel. This made for a mental lurch because I expect to turn the page and continue with the chapter and I ended up having to reset my mind to change to the next scene.

Still all in all this is a very nicely written, clean story with a powerful underlying message.

My ranking:

Purple Belt

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