Reviewed November 24, 2003.
Ballantine Books, New York, 2003. 612 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:
#5, Mystery and Adventure
Not just a legal thriller, Balance of Power is also a political
thriller. The beginning had me completely entranced. There
are multiple plot threads all coming together. The President is
getting married. Meanwhile, his fiance’s sister is in a horribly
abusive relationship and is realizing that she needs to leave. At
the same time, the President is trying to make a deal with a group of
gun manufacturers to require their dealers to conduct background checks
and to put safety locks on guns.
Just before the wedding, the media hears about the abusive
brother-in-law. He’s not happy about the media attention….
After the first section, the book gets bogged down a bit in legal and
political details, but picks up speed as it drives to the end.
Basically, there’s a legal case trying to sue a gun manufacturer and
the “SSA”—Sons of the Second Amendment—who are controlling the gun
industry as well as members of Congress. At the same time, a bill
is going through the Senate for tort reform—with an amendment added to
manufacturers immune from lawsuits. If passed, the bill would
out the lawsuit.
The book is full of true statistics about gun violence, and it’s easy
to believe that the events in the book could happen. You see the
many different aspects involved in passing a bill as well as many sides
to the issue of gun control. I like it that the author puts good
guys and bad guys in both parties.
If you are strongly opposed to the idea of tougher laws for gun
control, you won’t like this book, but if you’re at all in doubt about
the issue, this book might very well convince you. Sadly, the
part of the book that doesn’t mirror real life is the happy ending.
This is a well-written and captivating legal thriller. The fact
that it speaks to a real life situation is a bonus, and makes it all
the more interesting and easier to believe.
Copyright © 2006 Sondra
Eklund. All rights reserved.
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