The Ultimate October Surprise
by Michael Pinsky
Review by Barry Boy
I was given Cancelled: The Ultimate October Surprise by Michael Pinsky in exchange for an honest review.
Cancelled opens during the American primaries, although the prologue actually takes place after they are over. Austin Howard is the Republican candidate and Samantha Thompson the Democrat. From the very beginning, it is obvious that Pinsky has relied heavily on Trump and Clinton from the 2016 U.S. Election for these characters.
I can only assume that the Democrat President, who is sympathetic towards Thompson is based on Obama, but that is less obvious, or at least it was to me. It is highly likely that other characters in the novel will be recognisable to American readers, but they meant nothing to me, which was probably just as well, as I found the analogy with the 2016 scenario a little overpowering.
Anyway, having set the background, Pinsky lets his imagination rip and the story becomes much more interesting to me. The story line of Cancelled is basically that of a fast-paced, political thriller, conspiracy theory, in which ultimate power has corrupted to the ultimate degree, and the unthinkable looks as if it is about to befall the American people.
The second half of the novel was much more interesting to me and I think I learned something about how the American political machine works.
The cover image is simple, but effective, although the contents were somewhat spoiled by poor editing. There were missing words, misspelled words (eg Ppost Ooffice) and, much worse, confused names. Austin Howard is frequently called Austin, Howard, and even Howard Austin – not once but quite a few times! How that could have gotten past an editor, I cannot fathom.
Having said that, it did not spoil the story for me too much, but it is clearly unacceptable.
I liked Cancelled, especially the second half, but it needs some more work to be done on it.