Reviewed by Ellen
E. Kennedy, Myshelf.com
It is the year 2009 and brand-new US President Phil Greene has just learned a well-kept secret: Abraham Lincoln, uncertain of the outcome of the Civil War, had constructed a long tunnel under the White House grounds leading to a small room, and dubbed it "J Street," a letter missing from Washington's alphabetical street names.
In this room, Greene finds a plan, formulated by Lincoln himself, designed to wrest the government from politicians and place it back in the hands of a special delegation, made up of ordinary citizens. The independent-minded Greene enacts this plan and soon, one hundred bewildered ordinary folks find themselves thrust into a political fight to the death against corrupt, rapacious Senator Ribald and his old boy Congressional network.
J Street has many of the virtues that make up a blockbuster best-seller: an intriguing premise, riveting action and the fate of a nation hanging in the balance. Author Dorothy Martin has interspersed the book with tantalizing historical nuggets and enough character development to make us care about Greene, his Vice-President and Delegation leader Jane McCormick, a former housewife/Target checkout clerk.
On the down side, this 413-page tome could have benefited from a good editing. While the punctuation, grammar and word usage errors weren't on every page, there were enough of them to divert the attention of this persnickity reader. Too, there was a tendency to wordiness that was badly in need of paring. With tighter prose, J Street could have been a good 50 pages lighter, leaving a leaner, more exciting read.
That said, I must confess I found the story gripping and the resolution satisfying. J Street is more than a lengthy, ficitionalized plea for term limits. It represents the opening shot of a fine storyteller, a regular Tom-Clancy-in-training.
Ellen Edwards Kennedy is the author of Irregardless of Murder.
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