One of the fun ways to discover new reads is to meet authors in unlikely places. I’ve reviewed books here that I found through meeting people online and having good conversations that got me curious about their books. I’ve met people at cons, liked them, and bought their books on the strength of that. I find that if I can have an intelligent, fun conversation with someone, I will probably enjoy their imagination as distilled into a fictional world. This one is no different, and yet… it is. I wasn’t expecting this person to be an author, and once they revealed they were, I really had to check it out. So you never know. You could be having your annual physical and chatting and suddenly you find a point of commonality you didn’t anticipate.
Hit or Miss by AJ Ullman, to find a comparison for it, is a novel that reminds me of elements of Tom Clancy and John Grisham. It’s a suspense story, with legal elements, and some conspiracy thrown in there to spice up the mix. I wasn’t sure about it at first – the storytelling isn’t always linear, as the author moves through the life that shaped a man accused of assassinating the President. The first part moves slowly, building up the characters and developing the predicament of the man ensnared in the justice system by the machinations of unknown powers. But after the ride cranks to the top, like a roller coaster it lets go and gravity takes over.
It is a debut novel, so it’s not perfect. The dialogue can be a bit stilted at times. The coincidences can be too carefully coincidental. The settings are fun, though, as it’s taking place in the area of Ohio I live in, and I can recognize bits and pieces as I read. Overall, if you enjoy a political thriller, this will be right up your alley: without being overtly politically allied to any party in the current atmosphere. One of the elements I really, really like about this story is that the hero is a devoted family man. So many of the modern thrillers show a guy who’s trying to be James Bond with none of the charm, or that have behaved like immature idiots about their family life and it is bobbing like flotsam in their wake.