Joey Goebel, Author . MacAdam/Cage $24 (511p) ISBN 978-1-59692-279-2 ISBN 978-1-59692-296-9

Goebel's third novel (his first was The Anomalies ), a tepid satire of contemporary politics in “Middle America,” hinges on Blue Gene Mapother, the heir to a vast fortune who prefers hocking his old toys at a flea market. After a mutual four-year estrangement, his family reaches out to Blue Gene, hoping to give his older brother John's congressional bid credibility among “working men.” Initially reluctant, Blue Gene is swayed by John's conservative beliefs and moves back home to begin campaigning full-time. It isn't until he meets Jackie Stepchild, a substitute teacher and revolutionary rocker, that he begins questioning John's motives. A serendipitous meeting with his former nanny leads Blue Gene to uncover a dark family secret and he quits the campaign. Spurred on by Jackie's leftist outlook—as well as his growing attraction to her—Blue Gene cashes in on his inheritance and opens up “Commonwealth,” a communal enterprise providing free services to the town's middle-class citizens. An abundance of homosexual slurs and profanity detracts from Goebel's crisp storytelling, and the uninspired spoof of red states feels stale. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Open Ebook - 978-1-59692-910-4
Paperback - 511 pages - 978-1-59692-296-9
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