Thursday, June 12, 2014

Death Approaches in "The Seduction of Braulio Jules"

Are you ready for a subject exploration of disastrous proportions?  Are you ready for death, political machinations, and mayhem?  The book review today focuses on a topic that is all too real in our present day - what to expect when the Baby Boomer generation retires.  Will a New Deal experiment crash and burn in ugly turmoil or will there be a resolution to the Social Security question?

And what will that resolution entail?

In Tim Treanor's The Seduction of Braulio Jules, we get to explore just that.  Please join me today on a tumultuous trip to Washington D.C.

Book Blurb:
Did you think the Government shut down was bad? Well now it's time to pay the check.

For eighty years, the Social Security Trust Fund - which was designed to make certain that America's seniors had a pension - has been loaned out to the United States. In The Seduction of Braulio Jules it's now 2018, and with the massive baby boom generation retiring, we need that money back. But the U.S., already trillions of dollars in debt, is in no position to repay. And Medicare - health care for older Americans - is headed toward bankruptcy.

For some - a billionaire industrialist, a Strangelovian scientist, and an affable politician with a taste for blood - the answer is obvious: a plague designed to wipe out the baby boomer generation. But in order to carry out their scheme, they need to incubate a virus in the body of someone with an extremely rare blood type. And they need not just his body. They need his cooperation.

Discover, with Braulio, how evil progresses: one step at a time.

My Review:
Don Delano rubs shoulders with some of the most powerful people in Washington D.C.  He's also secretly working behind the scenes with a small group of very important people - powerful businessmen and women and political leaders who are trying to resolve the looming crisis that threatens the very fabric of the Union.

How to account for the mass retirement of Baby Boomers.  Expectations are certain that this generation will overwhelm the already taxed Social Security and Medicare systems.  Chaos is coming and no one wants to accept responsibility.

Dr. Gary Sanders is working on a solution - an unorthodox solution that, if discovered, would threaten the delicate sensibilities of the populace.  He's run into problem after problem trying to get his formula right, but time is running out and his benefactor only has so much patience - even though money is no object.

Amidst the crisis, a sudden shift in succession brings the one man into the Oval Office who just might be willing to do whatever is necessary to avert financial Armageddon - by causing one of his own.

The beginning of the story had me immediately enticed.  The stakes were high.  The possible solutions to the crisis had the potential to create a firestorm no matter which side of the fence people hung onto.  It presented a clear case of no-win scenarios for our characters.  I liked that.

However, about halfway through the story began to nosedive.  The excitement dwindled.  The pace crawled.  The whole story felt bogged down.  The characters did not seem to stay true to themselves, particularly in the case of Don Delano's stepson, Ned.  Motivations became disjointed.  The entire story shifted away from D.C. to upper-state New York and the cast of characters I'd enjoyed up to that point pretty much disappeared from the narrative and were replaced by caricatures.  Then I came to the end and it was like having the book jerked out of my hands and slammed into a wall.

I realize this is a trilogy and sequels are planned, but most tend to have at least a smidge of resolution or come down from the cliff before enticing the reader to wait for the next in the series.  This door slam basically made me put my Kindle down and go what was that all about?  I felt no sense of desire to continue on with the story by that point and really only finished this one for the sake of review.

There were several situations within the political sphere that did not ring true for me, notably the suspicious activity surrounding the President and his physician while in a foreign country and the rapid appointment of a successor (and I don't want to say anything more specifically to avoid spoilers).  So many things that would have taken months and months in reality seem to take mere days here.  The political machine is a very, very slow-moving wheel.  I realize this is fiction, but these things were just too far beyond realistic for me to swallow, even in a novel.

However, point-of-view remained fairly tight within scenes.  Mostly showing of the events as they were happening with very little telling, which is a plus in my book.  This helped keep the beginning moving along at a very nice pace.  The politics of the characters were grayed, without either side of the aisle being all praised or conversely demonized, which I found to be refreshing and more realistic to the D.C. scene.  I think it would help this novel appeal to a broader audience than the typical political thriller.  And like most thrillers, there's a heavy dose of rough language at times - just an FYI.

For the exciting beginning, timeliness of subject matter, and fairly clean structure I'd rate The Seduction of Braulio Jules a three star.  Oh, and I really love the cover!  You can click and purchase the novel for your Kindle at Amazon for the reasonable price of $3.99.  It is also available in paperback.

Author Bio:
Tim Treanor (1951 -- ) was born in Buffalo, New York, where he became a lawyer and a self-proclaimed "foot soldier" in local politics. He has served at all levels of government -- County, State and Federal -- and in the Executive and Legislative branches. He is currently a trial attorney for the Federal Government, and has tried cases throughout the country (and the Virgin Islands). He is a senior fellow in the Excellence in Government program.

When not practicing law, Tim is a playwright ("Murder in Elsinore," "Dracula. A Love Story.") and the senior theater critic for He has written nearly five hundred reviews of professional theater, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Theatre Critics Association and an O'Neill fellow.

Tim has been working on "Life and Death", on and off, for twenty-five years. "What I have seen in Washington, and in politics in general, is that we lie to ourselves to avoid making hard choices," Tim says. "We tell ourselves bedtime stories and kick the can down the road."

"The Seduction of Braulio Jules," the first novel in the "Life and Death" series, is not a bedtime story. "It's a story about what we do when we're confronted by reality," says Tim. "We delude ourselves even harder, and there's always somebody who's prepared to make it easy for us to do so."

Follow Tim on his website

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