Book Review - Capitol Reflections by Jonathan Javitt
It's always nice to find a first-time novelist who seems to have more talent and experience than their record would indicate. I received an advance readers copy of Capitol Reflections by Jonathan Javitt. Javitt put together an entertaining conspiracy thriller with the government and genetic food manipulation at the core of the plot.
Marci Newman is a hard-charging lawyer who lives her career. She's due to present in front of a judge on a pro bono case related to an unlawful eviction of an elderly Vietnamese lady. But after stopping for a coffee and a quick smoke, she suffers a seizure in the courtroom and dies. Her best friend, Gwen Maulder, is a Captain in the US Public Health Service. Gwen is unable to let go of the fact that a healthy young woman suffered a seizure with no known cause, and she decides to dig deeper to find the cause of her friend's death. A request to scan a new software system called BioNet uncovers a series of deadly seizures that spike in certain areas for two months and then disappear. But this request lands Gwen in hot water, and she's shunted off to a make-work job to get her to drop the investigation.
Gwen is convinced that tobacco is the main culprit in all these seizures. She contacts a reporter (and former boyfriend) who is known for his muck-raking columns. He starts digging into the facts, and sees that there's definitely a story *and* a high-level government/corporate coverup going on. The investigation becomes very personal when Gwen's own husband suffers the same type of seizure and nearly dies from it. The question becomes whether Gwen and her ad-hoc investigation team will uncover the true cause of the seizures before all of them are permanently silenced.
For a first-time novelist, Javitt does very well. The dialog works well, and the pacing of the plot keeps the reader moving along with no real opportunity to take a break. There were a few side plots that didn't seem to make much sense to me, such as the abundance of Asian women and how they got there. But fortunately they don't overwhelm the main action, and things keep building towards the climax. Javitt also avoids something that quickly turns me off of stories like this. He does have message that he wants to get out... the danger of genetically modified food. But where some well-known authors tend to club you over the head with their cause, Javitt puts it out there in such a way that it makes you think about the subject rather than trying to avoid the constant beating.
I hope this won't be a one-time occurrence for Javitt. If he decides to keep writing novels, I think he has an excellent career ahead of him.