Book Life Review
Plot: Mr. Miles's highly engaging novel uniquely blends elements of mystery and climate fiction into a story of a cross-country road trip and a protagonist overcoming loss. While providing steady action and intrigue, the author delivers tightly woven dialogue and careful plotting. Though the novel does not fully deliver the breadth of adventure promised early on, this is an otherwise gratifying, topical story.
Prose/Style: While there are areas of flatness and banality in the prose, the author avoids sentimentality and generally delivers crisp and real language, with frequently astute observations about death and human nature.
Originality: Readers will enjoy the protagonist's quest for truth in a book that feels genuine and self-assured. Readers will frequently be surprised by this work and will learn early on to not expect to know what to expect.
Character Development: In a minimalistic, hardboiled fashion, this novel delivers meaningful character development. Miles provides a graceful balance between interior dialogue and character interactions
On Line Book Club Review
Satan's Lapdogs by Bruce Miles is a crime novel about a reporter, Dylan Cromwell, and his unintended involvement with a group of activists who want to take control of America's climate change legislation. It is very real in the sense that it takes place during modern time and mention is made of current political leaders and circumstances. The book keeps the reader engaged at all times and is fast-moving.
The prologue of the book immediately draws the reader in as we read about 2 specific fatal motor vehicle accidents as well as five non-specific deaths. We are also introduced to the main character, investigative reporter Dylan Cromwell. After attending the funeral of an old girlfriend, Dylan embarks on a road trip to visit his friends Paul and Nancy. He meets Nancy's friend, Celeste, whose sister, Sandy, has disappeared while writing a blog about homeless women. Nancy asks Dylan to use his investigative skills to see if he can get some information about Sandy. By chance, Dylan finds himself in the middle of a national conspiracy by a militia called The Modern Minuteman Alliance. They are busy with planning a weapon heist and intend to use the stolen weapons to force passage of climate change legislation. Their aim is to save the planet from climate change and to give the power back to the people. Due to mistaken identity, Dylan is drawn into the conspiracy and has to keep his wits about him to find out what happened to Sandy and also to stay alive in the process.
I enjoyed the fact that the novel was written about current issues and was very realistic and believable. Dylan Cromwell is a well-developed character and plays a very dominant role in the book. The conspiracy and suspense are engaging and the book is overall a good read. The book is well-edited and I only picked up one mistake on page 165 where the word "is" is incorrectly used twice.
The author used a lot of swear words during the dialogue. Although I do not approve, the swearing was used in context and relevant to the situation. There are violent scenes, but they are not overly descriptive.
On reading the Prologue, I expected to get more involved in Dylan's emotions and his loss. The one reason for going to the funeral was that the deceased wrote him a letter. The letter is mentioned a few times during the book but is never opened, which I did not like as a lot of mystery is built up around the letter. I also found that there were a few too many coincidences in the book.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars due to the interesting plot and the fact that it was full of suspense and fast-moving. It offers all that one would expect of the conspiracy and crime genre. I would highly recommend this book to crime and conspiracy genre lovers. Due to the content, profanities and violence, I would not recommend it to young or sensitive readers.