Graveland
Alan Glynn
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Buy *Graveland* by Alan Glynnonline

Graveland
Alan Glynn
Picador
Paperback
400 pages
May 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Glynnís thriller begins with murderómore than one, in fact. When a Wall Street investment banker is shot in Central Park on a Saturday morning and a hedge fund manager is gunned down outside a New York City restaurant that night, the city instantly goes on alert, on edge in the event of another terrorist attack, international or domestic. The FBI is called in, Homeland Security in overdrive, the media humming with talking heads opining on unfolding events.

Journalist Ellen Dorsey, on staff with an established monthly publication on the verge of losing its relevance in a tech-savvy society, finds herself distracted by the murders, her journalistic curiosity awakened. She canít quite define her interest, her belief that the second murder will be followed by a third. She ascribes it to the instincts of a reporter scenting a big story, but one that veers drastically from the evolving party line. Ellen senses something more locally brewed, less politically driven than an attack by the 99%. But Dorsey has nothing to go on, networking with fellow reporters against the tide of an ongoing televised murder trial that has captured the attention of the nation day after day.

Elsewhere in the city, architect Frank Bishop chafes at the dimensions of his new job as the manager of a mall store. The victim of the economic downturn, Frank is happy to have a job, a relationship with his two college-aged children and an apartment to return home to each night after an acrimonious divorce. But in a moment of frustration, Frank is rude to his boss, a young corporate punk who smugly ushers Frank out the door. No matter. By now Frank has become obsessed by his inability to reach daughter Lizzie, whose last call indicated some distress. After much agonizing, Bishop goes on a mission to find Lizzie on campus and make sure she is all right.

The third critical character in Graveland is uber-wealthy James Vaughan, president of the Oberon Capitol Group, a brilliant, ruthless man with far-reaching influence in finance, government, politics and corporate deals, a long and shady history unlikely to bear public scrutiny. Aging and ill, Vaughan is about to pass the reins to his chosen successor, maintaining the low public profile that has allowed him to infiltrate both finance and government, manipulating both to his own ends. Vaughan is adamant that his family history and financial affairs remain private. His future plans depend upon secrecy.

As Ellen pursues the story that hasnít quite taken shape in her mind, she has no idea of the precarious journey she has begun. An exhaustive internet search leads her to a college campus where she meets Frank Bishop, frantically searching for Lizzie. Ellenís compassion for the distraught father opens the way to communication as another piece of a blurry puzzle falls into place. Without ever really being in the loop of the story, Dorsey hovers around the edges, putting together fragments that donít become clear until near the end in a heart-stopping realization that this story could cost her life.

Glynn juggles the sterile brutality of the financial world with the reality of New York City in a panic to find the perpetrators, Bishopís frustrating and painful attempts to locate his daughter and Ellenís pursuit of a story buried beneath the detritus of an outraged public, corporate-owned and controlled journalism, the publicís ingrained fear of terrorism and the mind-numbing effect of a sensational televised trial. This is a cautionary tale for contemporary society. Both overwhelming in scope and frightening in reality, it is also a reminder of the way ďmoney and power gnaws at the human soul,Ē not to be outdone by the consequences of a human heart overburdened by grief and outrage.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2013

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