Monday, January 21, 2013

The Firefly, by P. T. Deutermann

The Firefly, by P. T. Deutermann

This novel is truly awful. The Firefly is a cookie-cutter thriller that finds a retired Secret Service agent trying to prevent a tragedy that no one else believes is real. Written in 2003 the author clearly had the 9/11 attacks firmly in mind, as our government goes to unbelievable lengths to combat the "cancer of international Muslim terrorism."

Unbelievable is an excellent word to describe this tripe as the plot barely holds together as the one-dimensional characters pinball from chapter to chapter. The main villain has plastic surgery that not only changes his looks, but gives him inflatable breasts and an internal pouch for his genitals so he can transform into a woman and back again. He tries to kill everyone that worked on him, but one nurse escapes; she goes to great lengths to explain to the cops and agents investigating that she couldn't possibly identify anyone as the clinic had strict protocols for insuring privacy but the terrorist spends over half the book trying to kill her anyway. Coincidences abound; what luck that the Washington D.C. car lot where the terrorist is buying a vehicle happened to be right across the street from the auto mechanic at which the nurse is having her car serviced—and of course they were there at the same time! His luck also held when neither neighbors nor federal agents noticed he sawed a three-foot-square hole in the roof of a duplex in a dense neighborhood a mile from Capitol Hill the day before a presidential inauguration. The inauguration ceremony is at the heart of the plot, but the security measures put in place by the Secret Service are ludicrous even for a fiction book: the stock markets were closed, all government workers were furloughed for the day, the airports and train stations were shuttered, public cell phone networks disabled, cable and satellite television was shut down, and over 300 "people of interest" were sent to Guantanamo Bay for the duration. While I can certainly see the presidential detail liking these measures, believing they could actually happen is laughable. The resolution of the novel is as ridiculous as the rest, with the United States creating a massive deception (that was kept completely secret from the world despite massive troop movements and expansive special effect filming) that would justify every stereotype of American aggression during the height of the Bush era.

The Firefly is somewhere between silly and preposterous, one of the worst books I've read in a long time.

First Sentence:
The man who calls himself Jäger Heismann awakes in the dimly lighted recovery room of the private cosmetic surgery clinic in northwest Washington, D.C.

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