Monday, July 10, 2017

Douglas J. Wood's Presidential Conclusions: A Book Review

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Presidential Conclusions, by Douglas J. Wood, finishes up the three part Samantha Harrison series. Much like the novel’s predecessors, Wood places terrorism front and center for the novel. Unlike in previous editions, the reader seemingly spends more time with the terrorists than the political protagonists themselves. While Presidential Intentions set the scene by establishing Harrison as an icon and Presidential Declarations sported a terrorist attack that ravaged Washington DC, the nation’s government, and tested Harrison’s resolve, in this edition Harrison is firmly entrenched as the nation’s president. Outside of this fact, Harrison has begun a crusade to redraw country lines and subdivide the Muslim world.

Beyond this peace creating drive, Harrison seeks council in former presidents. By creating a presidential council of sorts, she activates former Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Clinton. While Obama is blacklisted from the novel by Wood’s obvious political prejudices, Harrison seeks council in these former political leaders and even uses them as political pack mules at times (which knowing their real life personas, is surprising at times). Yet the plot fixates on terror, the jihad, the evil of evil in the author’s mind. He creates an elaborate terror program, one tied to the attacks that took place in 2019, and then uses foreign extradition and torture to extract knowledge. Perhaps more than the other two novels, Wood’s political slants appear, yet he still crafts Harrison as a political moderate. In her, the country gets a leader they can trust even if they do not love her.

That said, Wood crafts a fitting conclusion to his series here. While Amanda Harrison still lacks character development, she plays her role well. Watts’ loss is savage and unpredictable, a great story telling twist, but the reaction rings contrary both to what society and Harrison herself had been set up to yield. Torture is dealt with, but not with love or hate, but with an antiseptic feel. Terror, torture, bombings, they happen in this world, and Harrison is tailor made to deal with their plights.

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