Friday, July 1, 2011

The Cemetery Vote / Steve Silkin

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Unlike many authors, information about Steve Silkin is skimpy. The only biographical information I found on the major book sites was this blurb on Smashwords:

Steve Silkin was born in New York, grew up in Los Angeles, then traveled across Europe. He once escaped arrest for trespassing at a skyscraper under construction by fleeing from the LAPD on his bicycle.

A little digging uncovered that Silkin is currently a newspaper reporter and editor in Southern California. He also has a seldom-updated blog.


Drug dealer Jace Kingman is approached by a member of a congressman-wannabe’s staff for help fixing in the election. A disgraced policeman, Dan Vienna, sees an opportunity for a big score through extortion.


They have a saying in Chicago, “vote early and vote often.” Whether voter fraud is a significant issue in the United States is a highly contested issue with no statistics, but frequent allegations. Google voter fraud statistics if you’re interested. I thought the plot of this book, a conspiracy to fix an election by paying people to vote in place of now-dead, but still registered voters, made for a clever political thriller. The idea isn’t overused and seems plausible.

Generally, I found the story entertaining and thought it flowed well. However, there was one glaring exception. This was the introduction of some back-story about the childhood of one of the other major secondary characters, ex-policeman Dan Vienna. It is back-story needed to move one of the plot sub threads to conclusion, but involved taking a long tangent in the middle of a scene, disrupting the flow of the story. As done, it also seemed too convenient. Giving us all or most of this back-story throughout the book would have worked better. That way, when needed, it would have seemed more natural and not required disrupting the narrative.

The main character, Jace Kingman, is a drug dealer who, in the beginning, is also a user, of both drugs and people. Disliking Jace would be easy except he realizes early in the book that he needs to change, which makes him more sympathetic. He falls into the voter fraud conspiracy without fully realizing he’s trading one problem for another until it is too late. Whether Jace can turn his life around, despite the situation he finds himself in, is the crux of the story.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars


Anonymous said...

Good review. I really loved this book!

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks, Chris. It sure kept me guessing how it was going to turn out.

Onyx Supersonics said...

Thanks for your time, the thoughtful review and the (perfectly valid) critique ... I knew the Solidarnosc digression was a risk, but decided to live dangerously!! Really appreciate the review. - S.