Book Review – Final Notice
by Van Fleisher
Average rating (all reviews) :
Blogger & Reader
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.
The Reviewer is the Author of Troy’s Possibilities
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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