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Abuse of Power

by Michael Savage

Read by: Peter Larkin

Macmillan Audio | 2011 | Running time: 11 hours | 9 CDs | $39.99

Reviewed by Michael Carey

michael savage

Michael Savage is the author of twenty-five books, including four bestsellers, and is a conservative talk-show host. Both his writing skills and his political views are on display in his thriller Abuse of Power. With his widespread influence, there is no doubt that there is an audience for this novel. I find it best to describe it as an ever-popular, guilty pleasure. Listening to Savage’s novel reminded me of listening to a Clive Cussler novel when I was younger, except it is not quite as good.

One must appreciate the imagination, the work, and the knowledge that Savage demonstrates with the novel, but I was more connected with Cussler’s Dirk Pitt than Savage’s Jack Hatfield, a war correspondent whose unwavering patriotism and insatiable quest for the truth have landed him on the mainstream media’s blacklist.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying that Jack’s character struck me as relatively flat; I simply had a hard time empathizing with him. I actually found the rogue Hand of Allah member, Abdal, a secondary, maybe even tertiary bad guy and the man who sets Jack on the trail of the terrorist organization, to be the most dynamic character.

Everyone else, from his Green Beret neighbor to the rebellious rabbi or the Muslim intelligence operative that eventually/conveniently becomes Jack’s love interest, seemed to be there to fill an obvious role in this by-the-numbers thriller that leads Jack around the globe sniffing out a terrorist attack that promises to be bigger than 9/11.

Savage makes a clear effort not to make the same mistake his main character is trying to avoid; grouping all Muslims and radical terrorists together. It is a fine point for a novel to make, but in the story, Savage goes about it with a heavy hand. The audio book had a pompous ambiance: the characters, the unnecessary tidbits, and the narrator’s tone (Peter Larkin reads with confidence and a rasp in his voice that seems fitting of the truth-seeking Hatfield, and his character voices add diversity and sometimes unintended humor.).

I had a difficult time getting into the story, but once the pace picks up, it becomes increasingly easier to listen to. I don’t think that Abuse of Power is a novel I would have, or will pick out again, but Savage knows his audience and is giving them what they want.

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