REVIEW: 2013 NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL REVIEW


"The President's Ultimatum"

by John Cavi

474 pages, iUniverse

 

A political thriller that takes place across the global stage, this novel uses actual events ripped from the headlines to weave an engrossing tale of betrayal between governments, with the conflict in the Middle East as its center stage. Using a blend of real and fictional characters, this action adventure epic manages to touch upon terrorism in all its forms, whether from the individual bomber recruited to give his life for a cause, to the government officials who are willing to use terrorism to stay in power. From the dusty airfields of Iraq to the Mossad offices in Tel Aviv, the book reveals the multi-dimensional reasons behind every seemingly simple terrorist plot.

 

The writing is excellent. The author shows great ability to handle the characters, from the power brokers to the terrorists in their caves. He imbues each with a sense of purpose and a believable background about who they are, so the events unfold in a logical, seamless way. The writing is reminiscent of the best of Tom Clancy, and even a bit of Dan Brown thrown in within the halls of the Vatican and the power elite. The author juggles a number of disparate characters, all leading to the inevitable and tragic conclusion.

 

 The narrative takes us into a number of countries, from the Dolomites to the streets of Tel Aviv, from the halls of power in Washington to the dusty airfields of Iraq. There’s a pulse pounding underneath it all, and despite the fact that we know how certain events have already transpired, it’s clever how the author has tied real and fictional events together in the narrative.

 

 The one quibble might be with the character Hannah. She’s been given quite a bit of back-story in the death of those around her, and it puts her on a fragile edge. So when Ari falls head over heels for her and they’re able to share an evening of intimacy, it’s not entirely clear how she has had such a psychic break that would keep her out of the narrative of the story for so long. Because the head (sic: Medical Director) seems to be shielding her, preventing anyone from seeing her, it seemed like that would become a story point. After all, they changed the laws in the Reagan era so that a person of adult age could be held without their consent in a mental institution. So it seemed a story point that she would be held for so long without there being a logical story extension to her incarceration.

 

Ari has a tendency to fall back upon his memory of her after each tragic event in his life — almost as if he is as obsessed as she is.  Of course, this makes sense in light of the climax.* But it may become problematic if the book is sold for a film or mini-series. They’ll have to find something for Hannah to do so they can attract a big name actress.

But the action is relentless, and despite knowing how many of the events played out in public, we aren’t fully prepared for the climax.*….It’s an epic event so to speak, and one that would be thrilling to watch in a feature film.

 

 Despite its release in 2011, the book has a surprisingly few reviews posted at Amazon. The solution is to have the author speak in public at book signings, and encouraging folks who liked it to voice their opinions on the Amazon page….The more people learn about Mr. Cavaiuolo (pen name Cavi) and his work, the more inclined they are to check out the book. This is a way to get more interest in the book, and generate more of those five star reviews that the book

deserves. *****

 

*word ‘climax’ substituted for the actual ending, which the judge revealed in the review.

August 22, 2013