December 18, 2006
One of my daily reads for quite some time has been Coyote Blog. The author, Warren Meyer, is a business owner out west, as well as a libertarian. It’s always one of my top spots for economics and free trade writing, as well as a first-hand account of how ridiculous government regulation has become. If you’re not reading it, add it to your list.
Last month, Warren’s novel, BMOC, was released. As I am a voracious reader, I’m always on the lookout for new books. I managed* to get a copy of BMOC last week, and read it on my flights to and from Texas this weekend. The book is a suspense-murder-intrigue type of plot:
Susan Hunter is a brilliant but lazy student at the Harvard Business School, who has a long-term plan for succeeding at Harvard and getting a high-paying job with the absolute minimum of work. Her plans begin to awry when she receives an invitation for a job interview with Preston Marsh, the quirky millionaire who has built his fortune on oddball businesses from selling designer musical tones to harvesting coins in fountains. Marsh convinces Susan to abandon her path of least resistance to work in his new business called BMOC, which guarantees its student clients that it will make them popular. But nothing in the job description prepares Susan for getting sent to LA to investigate a young woman’s suicide. Susan has to struggle to adapt her business school training to what increasingly appears to be a murder investigation, as a consortium of media companies, tort lawyers, and even a US Senator fight to hide the truth. And that was before they started shooting at her.
Now, I should lay out a few reviewer’s ground rules here. I’m not a literary critic. I very rarely dislike any novels. So when I say I liked the book, that’s not setting the bar very high. So I’ll try to go into greater depth, but at the very least I found it to be a very enjoyable read, and recommend it for that reason.
One of the things that struck me as a reader of Coyote Blog was the extent to which I noticed Warren’s writing voice and style carried over into the novel. Most of it, of course, was inside things that most non-readers of the blog wouldn’t pick up on, of course, which is to say that it certainly doesn’t detract from the novel. But writing about an business student allows Warren to throw in a little bit of his own subject matter. And, of course, the main character just happens to have a poli/econ blog called “Spreadsheet Girl”, for which Warren’s own blogging experience obviously gave him the knowledge to write accurately about. It’s not like he’s calling the internet a series of tubes. I should point out, though, that it’s not overwhelming. Yes, the main character happens to have a blog, but it’s an aside to the book, not a central theme (as you could worry about some bloggers-turned-authors doing).
Beyond this, the plot is pretty good, and it flows in a cohesive manner. Warren, as far as I could tell, manages mostly to stay away from some of the problems inherent in murder-suspense thrillers, where the plot is just too incredibly convenient to be plausible. The book is definitely a page-turner, but not at the cost of character development. The action sequences make sense, and there is a bit of poetic justice and humor in certain scenes.
For those of you who look at books for their ideological bent, Warren takes a big shot at government, media, and tort lawyers. All while making the entrepreneur/businessman into the “good guy”. Part of this was by design, as he said that he was sick of reading books always portraying the “evil” capitalist businessman. But this isn’t a “libertarian” book. This is a murder-suspense novel, and it doesn’t feel like you’re being beaten over the head with philosophy.
Above all, if you’re looking for a new read, give it a shot. Is it going to win any literary awards? Probably not, but it’s well-written, and you’ll be supporting a fellow libertarian blogger.
* Full Disclosure: Warren graciously offered a few free copies to bloggers. His hope was that bloggers would read and review the book.
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