Cancelled follows the story of a fictional election year in the United States. Loose canon Austin Howard, businessman and political outsider, has shocked the political establishment by securing the Republican nomination. HIs opponent is Samantha Thompson, unliked by many, but firmly entrenched in the political system as a former First Lady and former Secretary of State.
The premise of the story, however, is slightly unexpected: What would happen if a sitting President, one who had invested himself so heavily in progress and advancing his country, looked at the two candidates, deemed them both unsuitable, and was willing to take risks to retain the presidency and the power of the office?
There were several aspects of this book that made a firm impression on me.
The first was the author’s ability to develop the characters of the two major party candidates as well as other characters in other powerful U.S. elected offices. As a reader, I was surprised how, at the same time, I found myself despising and empathizing with both candidates. Author Pinsky has a great imagination, and gives us glimpses into the candidates’ thinking, including both their strategies, their motivation, and even their individual perplexities about not understanding the same things about their opponent.
The second thing that impressed me was how Pinsky took events “straight from the headlines,” or, at least, from the newsfeed, and interwove imaginary and speculatory events to create a sinister and concerning… and believable (at least, for the duration of the book) conspiracy.
Of course, as events unfold, individuals inside the government who remain loyal to the idea of a free society begin to recognize the signs of coming treason, and eventually, create a plan to thwart such actions.
The result is a novel that is equal parts tedium (as the wheels of government can grind ever so slowly) and suspense.
Cancelled: The Ultimate October Surprise is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.