About Me

My photo
Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

Featured Post

Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Friday, March 13, 2009

Book Review: Dirt: An American Campaign by Mark LaFlamme

Title: Dirt: An American Campaign
Author: Mark LaFlamme
Genre: Fiction - Suspense
Finished: March 13, 2009

Dirt: An American Campaign is a high energy, fast-paced novel about grief, personal connection, and political corruption. Governor and Presidential candidate Frank Cotton (no relation to the Frank Cotton in Hellraiser, of course) is in a peculiar situation just at the dawn of his potential election as the Republican candidate for the Presidential office. Mr. Cotton is not quite topping the polls and is having trouble with his son Calvin, whose wife just recently passed away. You see, Calvin stole the corpse of his wife and took off with it. What a scandal that would make for the Presidential hopeful. Enter Thomas Cashman, an ex-military man and CIA agent who is sent on a mission by the Cotton administration to stop Calvin before the press and public get wind of the Cotton family grave robbery. Cashman is just the kind of guy I like-- humorous and down to earth, but without pretense and willing to do what needs in order to be done to be successful at his job. To help get into the mind of Calvin, to better understand and predict him, Cashman employs the help of an alcoholic ex-writer named Billy Baylor. Baylor is somewhat of an expert in what would make a seemingly normal man do something so grotesque because that was the sort of thing that he wrote about before losing his wife and daughter in a car accident. There is, in fact, a large list of characters: a small-time reporter, an environmentalist lawyer, a cemetery attendant, numerous Presidential hopefuls, whole political administrative teams, two news reporters hot on the trail of Calvin, and roadside scoundrels. What connects them is politics, protecting and exposing people, or just the need to seek self-gain. There is little difference between the politicians who take joy in destroying their rival's life and the bullying bikers in the grocery store parking lot. Every chapter is short, giving a sense of immediacy to the novel. Though the chapters are short in length, I do not feel as if the book is lacking in detail or story. LaFlamme manages to say it all and say it wonderfully within his tightly packed sections. The way that the book flips from one person to the next gives the story a fast pace that made it even harder for me to put the book down at the end of the night. It was difficult for me to find a "good guy" in this novel, but it was likewise just as hard for me to find a "bad guy". The characters in Dirt are simply people, each trying to get by, neither good nor evil. Everyone has a secret, something dirty in their past. When all of the dirt starts to come out, no one can stop it. No one is left unexposed. I can almost guarantee with total certainty that you will not see the ending of Dirt coming. LaFlamme throws one twist at you before delivering the final dizzying punch.

No comments:

Post a Comment