In what appears to be a torrent of information, books, and rehashed plots, it is a genuine pleasure to do a review for Full Asylum, a novel by Michael Isenberg.Â A fun new addition to my library, it combines action, humor, and the real issues of 2012.Â This timely piece is a fun read for anyone looking for an interesting perspective on the serious problems we face today, while also getting away a bit from the reality of it all:
Gimbel Oâ€™Hare returns from work and finds his beautiful neighbor, Lacey Briefs, in his bed, wearing silk pajamas and painting her toenails. When Gimbel asks her why sheâ€™s resting in his apartment, she says, with a sexy Southern accent, â€œIâ€™m not here to rest.â€
Gimbel is intrigued, but wary. It might be a trap. He decides to dive in. He goes to the kitchen and returns with a dusty bottle and two glasses. â€œHow did you get that?â€ Lacey asks, impressed and very excited . .
It could be a scene from James Bond movie â€” until we discover that instead of rare vintage wine, the dusty bottle contains sugary, caffeinated, and very illegal . . . soda.
The reader never knows when action-adventure will veer off into off-the-wall comedy, political commentary, or â€” in this case â€” both. Other reviewers have compared it to 1984, Dilbert, and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. On the back cover, Christine Morabito, President of Greater Boston Tea Party, called it â€œAtlas Shrugged with professional wrestlers.â€ All the comparisons are appropriate. The book defies genres.
Full Asylum superimposes the reality of today on a vision of life in the future with a keen understanding of how, as Thomas Jefferson put it, â€œthe natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.â€ It depicts a not-too-distant future when the economy has crashed (again) and the nanny state is out of control.
When I interviewed the author of the book, he stated â€œI show what America will look like if we re-elect Barack Obama and continue on the path he has set for us.Â The issues this year are the same as they were in 1964, when Ronald Reagan asked us â€˜whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.â€™â€
Against this background, Gimbel, the main character in the novel, just wants to do his job as a software engineer. Not easy, given that his boss is out to get him, the Department of Justice has him under surveillance, and one of his co-workers is suing him for sexual harassment. He finds refuge by indulging in spy movies, an obsession that leads him on an off-the-wall journey around metro-Washington, from the ruins of a once fashionable mall, to a psychiatric ward in a military hospital, to the office of the Attorney General of the United States. With the help of redheaded Cheri Tarte (â€œthe perfect combination of sweet and tangyâ€), Gimbel is on the trail of a dangerous â€” and possibly imaginary â€” conspiracy to steal a presidential election and fundamentally transform America.
Gimbel and Cheri are backed by a stellar supporting cast; including my favorite character, Brownie McCoy, a hippie who is a real liberal and actually believes in American values.Â Also included are a Tarzan-like professional wrestler who, upon leaving the ring, trades his monkey fur briefs for a linen suit and a martini; and a GE-like businessman who profits from his government connections while finding time to write second-rate philosophy books . . . Isenberg insists that any resemblance between the last character and George Soros is purely coincidental, but I donâ€™t buy it.
According to the dust jacket, Isenberg brings wide-ranging experience to his fiction, drawn from a checkered career as a Six Sigma Black Belt, weapons merchant, astrophysicist, and manufacturer of cigarette filters. He has provided automation and process expertise to factories on four continents. He says his travels were what gave him the idea for Full Asylum. â€œThat scene in the James Bond movies where Bond comes back to his hotel room and finds a beautiful woman in his bed â€” well, I stayed in a lot of hotels and that never happened to me. But I thought, â€˜Wouldnâ€™t it be fun if it did.â€™ So I invented this kind-of nerdy guy who keeps getting into these James Bond situations: shoot-outs and car chases, and the scene with Lacey, and of course the big confrontation with the villain at the end.
Full Asylum was published by Monteferro Press, a new imprint established to serve the untapped market for conservative and libertarian literature. The company strives to publish well-written and entertaining fiction that delivers a powerful message of freedom. In the case of Full Asylum, it succeeded.
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