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Posted December 9, 2008
A fabulous eye-opening tale.
Census Bureau career civil servant Harry Beales is stunned with the data that reflects Masterville in the Arkansas Ozarks. The small town contains no measurable crime, a much greater than average life-span, no international business chains as everything is locally owned, no federal money is received not even Medicare or Pell Grants, the marriage rate is very low, but offspring very high and no major religion has taken hold. However, the oddest fact is that these trends can be traced back to the Civil War.................. Harry¿s findings reach NSA; they become concerned with this oddity in the center of the Bible Belt especially since the objective of the President of the United States is to imbue Christian family values as the Bill of Rights. NSA field agents Daniel Stenning and Shirley Rostervick are sent to Masterville to uncover and destroy this heretical conspiracy in the middle of the United States that the POTUS and the NSA believe is the biggest threat to national security since the wall fell...................... Using hyperbole to highlight the extreme of the fundamentalist religious right movement, Darrell Bain provides a powerful political thriller. The story line showcases a central government that feels so strongly in the end state of Christian based federalism that it leads the people to a restrictive faith in which the means to get there do not matter. This includes beating the bushes to thwart a small town whose residents are living together in harmony as that is not necessarily a pious life style. This reviewer kept thinking of the bane imposed on Rushdie as this strong thriller with a powerful message leaves readers to ponder what is right. Darrell Bain has written a fabulous eye-opening tale............ Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2004
A Strange Valley
Only a few of Masterville¿s citizens are aware of the anomalies and uniqueness of their behaviors and lifestyle, but with the NSA sending agents to investigate them and their valley will they have time to find the cause and prove they are not aliens, monsters, or a threat? Harry Beales¿ work in the Census office is routine if not boring, until he comes across some unusual findings about the small town of Masterville. NSA Agent, Daniel Stenning, is a bit confused by the NSA¿s interest in a small town on the Arkansas, Missouri borders. Why are a few unusual statistics and lifestyle choices considered a threat to national security? When he arrives in the valley with his partner, Shirley, who is posing as his wife on this assignment, he finds a back-in-the-fifties, clean town, and Lisa. The minute she opens the door of the B&B where Shirley and Daniel are registered for their stay in Masterville, the attraction between Daniel and Lisa is obvious. Impossible to hide, impossible to fight. Daniel has no desire to fight it, and begins to suspect he has a lot in common with the unique residents of this pleasant valley town. Someone else has discovered Daniels similarities to the valley residents too, and he finds himself marked as a target by the agency he used to work for. Daniel must work with Tyrone and the Masterville council and prove they offer no threat before powerful and corrupt government officials use terrorist tactics to wipe out a small part of the homeland. Darrell Bain keeps the questions and suspense flowing through the action packed pages of Strange Valley. Thought provoking, this story stirs the imagination with what may at times seem exaggerated and extreme, but then, the extreme and those who err on the side of it is where the danger lies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2004
A Strange Valley by Darrell Bain
As nature abhors a vacuum, most folks abhor those who are different. And differences usually generate suspicion. In, ¿A Strange Valley,¿ author Darrell Bain has taken those truths and, like a train slowly gathering speed and momentum until it¿s shrieking through the dark night, begins to weave a futuristic and fast-paced tale of suspense. After a census bureau employee discovers a series of anomalies in a small valley in the Ozark Mountains, a power hungry president and his crumb-snatching director of the National Security Agency recognize the threat to their power base. The residents of Masterville, Arkansas are a little smarter, less religious, thriftier, and marry less. They have a higher level of education, are more sexually liberated, and have fewer illnesses than the rest of the country. And, people don¿t bother to lock their doors at night in this quiet and serene community because crime is almost non-existent. Unfortunately, the administration¿s obsessive right-wing beliefs run counter to the peaceful residents. Bain has taken current events and projected them into the future where the far right claims dominance over everything it doesn¿t agree with and abuses its power to try and keep these mutants, as they¿ve labeled them, from influencing the rest of the country. NSA Field Agent Daniel Stenning and his partner are sent to investigate the anomalies in Masterville but are hard pressed to conclude anything sinister. Nevertheless, the President seizes the opportunity of using an atheistic community to strengthen his upcoming election and is determined to prevent anything from getting in his way. While Bain does well in building a believable biotechnical thriller, the ending doesn¿t quite justify the quality of the author¿s excellent skill in a mesmerizing plot and creating believable characters. Maybe it¿s that the ever-increasing intrigue hints at something more to come ¿ something much more sinister than the sum of its parts. While not giving away the plot, and certainly not discouraging both suspense and science fiction aficionados from reading ¿A Strange Valley,¿ I felt a little disappointed when I read the last page.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2013
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