Monday, April 16, 2012
By L.J. Sellers
Step into the world of tomorrow. America is experiencing dark days with 21% unemployment, very high inflation, $8 per gallon gas, millions homeless, extra lax gun laws, shrinking federal government, and people wanting better jobs because of health insurance. Reality television has hit a new level with an annual competition for the best in America, but a killer lurks in the background.
It is the year 2023. Lara Evans, a freelance paramedic in Oregon is entered into an annual televised contest of strength, intelligence, and ingenuity, called the Gauntlet. However, the other competitors are not her only worry. She’s trying to outwit a gunman who almost killed her and the federal employment commissioner and has followed her to the competition.
Months before The Gauntlet, federal employee Paul Madsen wants very much to impress a pretty coworker. To get the funds to improve himself cosmetically he arranges for individuals to be hired into lucrative positions. However, his intended really would like to be the next federal employment commissioner, who oversees the Gauntlet. For that to happen, the current commissioner might have to die.
I want to compare it to The Running Man, but it might be Running Man Light. It’s a typical questions authors receive, but I’d be interested to learn how this plot originated. It’s an interesting view on the world of tomorrow.
Lara Evans: 42, 5’5”, brunette, former police officer now a freelance paramedic, kick, boxes, marathon runner lives in Eugene, Oregon, allergic to perfume, estranged parents live in Alaska. She was a juvenile delinquent. She has survived a rape and assault and a knife attack. Since leaving the department, she hasn’t been able to eat solid food and throws various food into a blender.
Paul Madsen: federal government worker in Personnel and Payroll Management, highly intelligent, photogenic memory, lonely, average looks, owns a Lhasa-poo dog. Was a foster child.
Camille Waterson: 33, Paul’s coworker, beautiful, blonde, looking to move up in the world
Thaddeus Morton: federal employment commissioner, bisexual
Jason Copeland: Ex Marine, firefighter, lives in Illinois, self-assured, almost cocky
Kirsten Dornberg: 24, blonde, lives in Florida
Unique characters. Sellers gets into depth with only Lara and Paul, but that’s okay, the others are just for support. There has to be a cop involved as well as typical personalities of the other competitors
Concise, no long soliloquies. Conversations are to the point with no wandering into left field. POV is, for the most part, from either Lara or Paul.
Sellers writes a tight top notch novel with plenty of action and suspense. This one moves fast and does not let down the reader one bit. No extraneous detail. A few unnecessary instances of profanity and a couple of errors but nothing to detract from the enjoyment of the novel.