Book Review – Final Notice

by Van Fleisher

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Rodney Strong
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Dianne James 
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Shrabastee Chakraborty
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A Solidly Written Book that Just wasn’t Thrilling enough for me

“A new smart watch has the ability to predict how long someone has to live, sending them a “Final Notice” to get their affairs in order.  Everyone reacts differently, but in some cases, getting their affairs in order means picking up a gun and killing other people, or themselves.

Final Notice is billed as a political thriller, which is the biggest issue I had with the story.  When I hear the description “thriller” I assume edge of the seat, lots of action and suspense.  Unfortunately Final Notice didn’t have any of those things.  It was a solidly written book, but in my opinion definitely not a thriller. Making the company manufacturing the watches, cooperative and the good guys really took away a prime opportunity for conflict.

There were some nicely written passages, and I particularly liked the relationship between Vince and Trudi, and really liked the nice little twist from Trudi at the end.  However there were too many characters introduced, and most of them were superfluous to the story, even the FBI agent seemed to have little to do, and didn’t add any tension to the plot at all.

The author fell right into the trap of telling rather than showing readers, and there was quite a bit of over writing in places. Also the author took readers out of the story at times by adding little notes from the author into the text, which were distracting and unnecessary.

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To Whatever Genre it May Fit, “Final Notice” is a Grand Book

Wow!, Just Wow! That was my first thought when I finished this book. Normally I would write a synopsis first but I found this difficult to do, so bear with me.

The main story follows the testing stage of the VT2, a new sport watch- and I use the term loosely – which monitors your body and blood to the extent that it can accurately predict (within 30 days) when you will die. The watch sends out a Final Notice giving the wearer the number of days they have left. So what would you do if you knew you only had X number of days to live? Would you make sure your affairs were in order and say your goodbyes or would you settle a grievance with a gun, knowing that you would never have to pay for your crime?

This book follows the stories of several Final Notice recipients who did just that. The FBI becomes involved when it’s realised there is a link between some recent, and perhaps strange, murders and the VT2.

But there is also the story of Vince (70) and his wife Trudi who rail against the easy availability of guns until an incident that leaves them feeling the frailty of their age. They are truly conflicted.

This book is set in the near future and powerfully highlights the political influence of the NRA, but other social issues such as the indifference and lack of respect spot wards the ageing and the growing hatred of foreigners, especially Muslims, are also approached within the story.

It took me a few pages to understand how this story was put together, but once I did, I was fully engrossed in all of it. It is a complex tale of serious topics but it is tempered by moments of humour and the odd step out of the story by the author. I loved that. It made it quite personal, in effect giving you a kind of relationship with the author as well as the main characters. Very brave, Mr Fleisher.

The main characters are well developed and the book moves at a rollicking pace. I’m not sure where it fits in; it’s touted a s thriller and mildly sci fi, but I’m not sure it fits either of those well. Social commentary perhaps, but wherever it fits, it’s a grand book and I look forward to the next one

Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences



  Book Review by Shrabastee Chakraborty
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Thought-Provoking Novel, but Not Much ‘Thrill’.

“What would you do if you knew- for certain- that you had one week to live?” -the very first question Van Fleisher raises at the start of “Final Notice” jolts the readers. While we keep pondering over this, a high-tech company is shown to introduce a health-monitoring watch that can accurately predict the user’s death within a time limit of a week. With this knowledge of impending death, some people use the remaining time putting their affairs in order or standing up for their ideals one last time; while others kill people they had issues with, thus settling the score once and for all.
The author plunges into an intricate account of US society and introduces a plethora of characters: Vince and Trudy Fuller, an elderly couple; Vijay Patel, the inventor of VitalTech; Quasim and Rasha Melho, an immigrant couple; Zoe Brouet, a Special Agent of FBI; Senator John McAdam- to name a few.
Several other questions gradually come into focus: by encouraging possession and use of guns, will NRA help to counter violence, or rather increase it? Will arming the school teachers and common people help them prevent mass shooting at schools and other acts of crime, or will that prove to be a disaster just waiting to happen? How does ‘NRA Senior Discount’ on guns affect the judgement of the elderly people, who often have to suffer humiliation and disrespect from younger generation? How do the immigrants in USA feel when racist comments are directed towards them?
Described as a ‘political thriller’, the story has a definite political undertone, but does not elicit much thrill. The pace, at least in the first few chapters, is too slow for my choice. The narration is frequently interspersed with side notes from the author and musings of the characters, without which the story could have been more compact. Background details of many characters are given, which seems unnecessary. Also, the dialogues sometimes sound like staged monologues, not real conversations.

In spite of those shortcomings, I feel the story-line is perfectly relevant in today’s society, as it addresses several crucial questions and makes the reader think and re-think their answers. The main characters show bravery, goodwill and compassion for their fellow humans; their actions often implore us to rise over petty vengeance or personal grudges and to be kind.
The last twist is unexpected, and while it reflects good intent from Trudy’s part, I leave it to the readers to decide whether it is justified or not. Finally, the end of the story holds a beacon of hope for a better future.

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