Review – Fate of the Union by Max Allan Collins

This novel is your standard “former national hero secret service agent who took a bullet for the president-of-the-future receives a phone call from his friend who needs to talk, but before they can talk his friend dies in mysterious circumstances leading said agent to uncover a possible serial killer who turns out to be part of a giant conspiracy” story.

It’s full of your typical thriller cliches like…

– Dead friends.
– Dead friends’ wives as possible love interests.
– Billionaires
– Incompetent local cops
– Incompetent federal cops
– Female Federal Agent sidekick who defies all orders to work with the hero of the story.
– Conspiracies involving large corporations and the government.
– Mysterious technology.
– Geeky genderless sidekick available via “phone a friend”
– Strippers. (who may not actually be strippers)
– Transvestites. (who may not actually be transvestites)
– Transphobia.
– Main hero as a Social Justice Warrior.
– and more…

But seriously though… this book was not bad, with all of that said. It just felt as though I had read this thing all before, by so many other authors, and so so much better. It was like the author took all of the cliches of this genre, inserted their characters’ names, and changed some of the minor details.

At least 60% of this novel involves the main characters following red herrings all over the country, while I was deeply suspicious about the people who wound up being the bad guys.

In spite of all of this, I was actually prepared to give this novel a fighting chance, because it was at least engaging, and somewhat entertaining. That was until I hit the ending. But first, the climax of the story had the potential for such interesting tension, involving bombs, and threats and whatnot, but it was over in one sentence and a goddamned cheesy line. And that was before we got ending.

To say that the ending was a deeply unsatisfying, exposition-heavy talk-fest, followed by a convenient wrap, would be an understatement.


2.5/5 stars… just. Just go read the latest Lee Child novel, he does it a lot better.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

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