The 25 by Ace Bryant

The "Mama Mia, Part 2" movie was supposed to be the cultural highlight of my summer. That let me down, bigly.

I am not easy to please.

There are 844 books downloaded onto my Kindle and another 2,197 archived items. (I call my Kindle "Cokie" for a reason.) That's 3,041 ebooks, and I don't even want to tell you how many actual printed books I have stacked in every nook and cranny (in fact, I may be wearing several of them).

The point here is that I have way too much reading material to whine that I have "nothing to read." But, for much of the summer, I flitted about from book to book, taking a few sips of one and lingering for a couple of days at another, but savoring few of them for very long.

Nothing captivated me. It was not a good season for beach reading.

Until Ace Bryant's The 25 came along.

Ace Bryant, you rescued me from a summer of aimless meandering. You gave me a book that I could sink my pointy, over-sized, nearly impossible-to-please teeth into. (Please, don't try biting into a Kindle at your home. My jaw still stings.)

Best of all, you saved me from the agitation I've been feeling every time I've seen, heard, or read the news since November 2016. I am not politically involved, and I am not even registered with a particular political party. But I have been stunned, heartbroken, and shattered to watch the very worst of history events repeat themselves since the election.

Like Mr. Spock, I come apart when things strike me as illogical and inexplicable.

I picked up The 25 as a change of pace because, frankly, my usual diet of Hay House spiritual books (motto: If you're unhappy, think yourself into a blissful state!) and cheap bios of D-list Hollywood actors (and even a few A-grade pop singers) left me spinning, empty, and fidgeting with my iPhone to see whether anyone was doing anything to stop the hate crimes and plundering of our planet. I found no joy on my iPhone.

But I did find edification (if not consolation) in The 25. I'm not sure how author Ace Bryant figured out what's going on in DC and beyond, but I really do believe he nailed it.

His crime thriller was engrossing, and I loved reading about a fictional FBI (it was a great distraction from hearing the integrity of the FBI called into question by the Great Pumpkin and the rest of the Peanut Gallery). I enjoyed the chick-lit aspects of The 25 (yes, I am a sucker for a romance; sue me). I was enthralled by the suspense and captivated by Ace's fictional world.

And then I hit the core of reality. Ace (or, rather, one of Ace's characters) explains what's happening in our world, and the theory fits. has the ring of truth to it, and it's not something you can look away from once you've seen it.

So, Ace, thank you for entertaining me this summer. Thank you for taking me away from the hypnotic car crash that's been unfolding these many months, even if it was only a temporary reprieve.

And, most of all, thank you for sharing your explanation about why all of this is happening. It doesn't change what happened in Charlottesville. It doesn't mitigate the ringing of the chant "blood and soil" in my ears. But it does provide a context for all of that, and it does lay a foundation for coming to terms with a greater reality than many of us (including me) could have imagined. Ace, thank you for helping me make sense out of something that was driving me crazy because of its seeming senselessness. It helps to know the truth, and I believe you have provided that in The 25.


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