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SPIRE

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

In the not-too-distant future, America is turned upside-down with no First Amendment, no freedom of the press and reporters out of work, in jail or on the run. The nation’s last free journalist – Inman Spire – risks his life in a desperate bid to save the world’s largest democracy. The former TV celebrity newsman must outmaneuver his would-be killer, a power-hungry and sadistic Attorney General with the full might of the U.S. government behind him. Relying on non-traditional broadcasting methods, some unexpected and questionable allies, and his unique journalistic instincts, Spire reports on the government’s brutal treatment of any dissent and the Attorney General’s deeper, darker plan: to eliminate the remainder of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Former investigative and business journalist Mark Braykovich paints a haunting portrait of an America without a news media at its dire consequences, while paying tribute to the profession to which he dedicated 25 years of his life.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: This cogent, tense thriller offers a timely—and alarmingly plausible—focus on threats to civil liberties and the free press by centering on the covert efforts of a former newsman on the run from a tyrant.

Prose: Braykovich’s prose is descriptive, fine-tuned, and expertly balances exposition with in-scene development. The author’s knowledge and investment in the topic of journalistic suppression is abundantly evident.

Originality: The near-dystopian novel takes a pertinent premise to its ultimate chilling conclusion. The author’s original storyline is anchored by a strong narrative structure and clear sense of urgency.

Character/Execution: Braykovich creates a memorable character in Spire, surrounding him with a near mythic air of enigma. Gray, meanwhile, is a more knowable, stalwart character grappling with his own role within the flailing American democracy. The additional journalists in the story convincingly carry the weight of the calamitous circumstances.

Date Submitted: August 17, 2020

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