18 1/2 Minutes
by Ronald C. Meyer
available as an eBook on Amazon and Chapter’s Indigo 2013
Gideon James, has been through hell. A tour of duty in Afghanistan; from videographer, shooting documentary footage, to gunning down the innocent when things went bad. Things like that change a person. Things like his sister coming home from a tour of duty with a head full of shrapnel! Things like his parents committing suicide! Things that changed Gideon and as he’s on the slippery slope out of the world, he is approached by Amy Rutledge, to speak on her talk show.
Amy’s cable documentary program, The Truth Now! has a small following, until she interviews Gideon, and embarks on a discovery to find out what is on the famous 18 1/2 minutes of oval office tape that turned up erased during Nixon’s days in the white house. It’s a journey that has perked up some ears in the Nation’s capital and when Amy hires Gideon to help her uncover the truth, and its this truth that could get them all killed, the perked ears go on the offensive.
As they seek out the elusive Jeff White, who is the only person who may truly know what is on the tape, the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling together. Amy and Gideon begin to feel confident that the mystery may finally be revealed, and those involved brought to justice. Or will they? Or is the greatest game play of all in the air? Can Gideon help his sister, and can he finally have some peace over the death of his parents and the horrors he witnessed in the middle east?
Meyer caught my attention early in this one. The opening pages outlining the famous tape being erased and the implied murder of the man who did the dirty work, caught the mystery/thriller lover in me. To tackle this famous bit of history and to build a believable tale surrounding it, was no small feat, but Meyer pulls it through with all the things you’d look for in a political thriller. You get the evil White house aide who knows just a little too much, the general who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and the full cast of reporters, political, Mafia and scientific persona’s that drive the story to a stunning conclusion.
One of my favourite aspects of this novel is the use of a secret organization known as the Club of Athens as the ultimate evil doers in all this. Tying the famous 18 1/2 minute tape to the Club of Athens (a church of Scientology-esque group) only adds to the mystery and intrigue. Meyer, makes identifying The Athens Club, real world counterpart easy, with comments such as “L Ron Hubbard is Ayn Rand in drag, and a reference later in the novel to the original members being sci-fi fanatics who used a science fiction story to build a religion. The references draw you in, and for me, kept me reading to see where the story would lead, and how or when the truth of this group would be revealed.
If I had to make a criticism, its that near the end of the novel, one part of the story was wrapped up by introducing a plot element which had not been mentioned at all through the novel. It felt very much like it was “added” to explain the particular character’s behaviour and it did just that, however with no lead up to it, it felt like an add-on with no connection to the rest of the book. Also some characters receive no wrap up at all in the final pages, and that was disappointing, for this reader. However that said, the Epilogue paints a chilling picture that will leave you questioning many things about the world we live in, and the information we are fed as a society. Loved the closing pages.
Excellent read, Meyer left me wanting to get on the net and look up every conspiracy theory out there…and I likely will. Awesome effort, and have it ear-marked for a second read to pick up the finer points I likely missed first time through. This one clips along at an amazing rate, so definitely one to pull onto your eReader of choice next weekend and enjoy!
For once I’m on the fence! It’s a cover, it didn’t wow me or turn me off.
Ronald C. Meyer, owner of Centre Communications, is a producer of movies and documentary DVDs, with sales exceeding one million units. He is also the co-author of two bestselling books on Aikido – Aikido in America and Center: The Power of Aikido. When not writing novels he is also a famous fossil collector