Saturday, April 19, 2014
By LLOYD FERRISS
PR Hersey, a prolific mystery writer whose earlier novels pit noble-minded "Smoke" Lassiter and detective Murch against evil forces, continues the duo's crime-fighting saga in her latest book. In this opus, the two confront a plot to wipe out democracy worldwide.
"MORE COMPANY MEN: GLOBAL DAWN." By PR Hersey. Laughing Moose Books. 240 pages. $17.99.
The genius behind the scheme is Nick Palmer, the CEO of GreatCo/ADNICK. Like Smoke and Murch, he's a character brought forward from the author's earlier books. This time he travels the world "shoring up support for his global domination plot."
He is, Hersey writes, a man "connected at the highest levels with world leaders, the rich and powerful and the movers and shakers for a new world order."
Palmer's followers -- the people who want a totalitarian society -- are graying anti-war hippies from the 1960s plus, as Hersey tells it, "anonymous or closet socialists, communists, activists, revolutionaries and downright lunatics."
Among the lunatics is a high-ranking individual who thinks animals should have legal rights that include entitlement "to their day in court."
Clearly, Smoke and Murch and Smoke's sexy lawyer wife have lots to contend with in "More Company Men: Global Dawn."
I must confess that I found the book difficult to follow. Its story line seems far-fetched to the point of being silly. Worn-out phrases and cliches distract the reader.
At one point in the book, for instance, a good-guy character praises spies they've planted in the White House who – despite their ability – can't access information. He tells his friend, "They (the spies) are good at putting two-and-two together and thinking on their feet. When they don't have a clue, I am truly worried."
Elsewhere in the book, the author tells readers that Smoke is discouraged. "He just felt unsettled as this problem seemed larger than life and sinister to the end."
A good aspect of the novel is Hersey's observation of a phenomenon that worries more than a few Americans. Namely, that forces beyond the control of average people are reshaping our country for the worse.
"The fabric of America," Hersey writes, "was being unwoven one strand at a time – the tapestry of two-hundred plus years was coming undone. It (the engineered change) had been on the books and in the planning stages for decades but now was the time the 'event happening' would take place. Neither the country nor the world would ever be the same again."
PR Hersey has had several careers. She was a microbiologist and laboratory supervisor for 13 years, prior to working for two long-term disability reinsurance companies. Underwriting, marketing and exploration of foreign markets were among her specialties, in addition to writing for publications such as "The New England Journal of Insurance Medicine."
Since 2003 she has concentrated on writing and consulting. She's written a number of children's books, a collection of short stories and three mysteries, in addition to this recent novel.
"More Company Men: Global Dawn" is fiction with a political viewpoint. It has lots of action and steamy bedroom scenes. But lack of organization and quick scene changes will likely challenge readers. It's a book I can't recommend.
Lloyd Ferriss is a writer and photographer who lives in Richmond.