If you can guess what happens in chapter twenty-five, you might win one gently used gummi worm! Hey, who wouldn't want that? (You wouldn't want that, trust me.)
If you said "nothing happens" then you're a winner! But we're all winners here, aren't we? By reading this book, we've all had the opportunity to Grow and Learn, and that is something to be proud of. There is no second place in learning and there is no crying on Glenn Beck's TV show. Oh, wait, there is lots of crying on Glenn Beck's TV show. Nevermind.
Okay, so there are two plot points revealed this chapter, which, I guess makes them a slight bit more engaging than the previous three installments of The Kearns & Bailey Show. Maybe this story arc is starting to pay off.
To the plot point, the most important one, I am guessing:
Danny took a printout from his pocket, a transcript of the most recent chat room conversation, and matched up the four men with their screen names. The fifth, he was told, a guy named Elmer, had taken an unexpected trip to Kingman, Arizona, on a related matter and wouldn't return until well after midnight Monday morning.
Elmer is away. That is ominous, isn't it? Where do you suppose he is? I mean, aside from maybe Kingman. (Winona? Barstow? San Bernandino?) Wherever he is, I assure you it is not good.
No matter. "All of them agreed, though, that Elmer was a serious player and absolutely a man to be trusted." I think they had the same ideas about Kearns & Bailey too. No one in this bunch seems especially thoughtful. No one seems to have a name yet, either, aside from Ron, who has "been wise to those Zionist bankers and the good-for-nothing queen of England ever since [he] saw what they did to us on 9/11." (I guess that is supposed to be a joke.)
Nameless, faceless terrorists. At least they've not been saddled with the label "diverse."
Bailey explains the bruises on his face, the beating he took, and how it was the final straw, so to speak.
He'd been picked up by the cops after a patriot meeting in New York City, he told them, and then they'd beaten him within an inch of his life while he was in custody. Everyone has their breaking point, and this had been his. He knew then that there wasn't going to be any peaceful end to this conflict; the enemy had finally made that clear. So he'd called his old friend Stuart Kearns to come and bail him out so he could be a part of this plan.
Sure. Everyone who gets roughed up by the cops decides the best recourse is to nuke a major American city. That makes sense and is totally believable. By which I mean it isn't. Not even in the confines of this novel does that sound plausible. Maybe Beck is trying to demonstrate how far out there these terrorists are. Or perhaps, this is just shit writing.
Kearns shows the men the bomb.
As the men looked on with a mix of awe and anticipation, Kearns began to provide a guided tour of the device. The yield would be about on par with the Hiroshima bomb, he explained, though the pattern of destruction would be different with a ground-level explosion. The device was sophisticated but easy to use, employing an idiotproof suicide detonator tied to an off-the-shelf GPS unit mounted on top of the housing. With the bomb hidden in their vehicle and armed, all they'd have to do is drive to the target. No codes to remember, no James Bond BS, no Hollywoodesque countdown timers—just set it and forget it. The instant they reached any point within a hundred yards of the preset destination the detonator would fire, and the blast would level everything for a mile in all directions.
There is no "Hollywoodesque countdown timer" just a GPS trigger which does not qualify as Hollywoodesque either. Kearns arms the bomb, and "a line of tiny yellow bulbs illuminated, winking to green one by one as a soft whine from the charging electronics ascended up the scale." That is also not Hollywoodesque, in case you were wondering. Nothing Hollywoodesque to see here, move on!
Now, that second plot point I mentioned. The target: "the home-state office of the current U.S. Senate majority leader, the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada."
Oh. My. God. The target of the plot is Harry Reid (D-NV). What the fuck? How is this appropriate, even for fiction? Even for faction? I realize Reid is a public figure and all, but this seems beyond the pale. Maybe I am overreacting. I don't know. However, I do know that I do not like this book at all.
I understand nuking a city is acceptable for a thriller. I think Tom Clancy did it once, right? And I've read enough post-apocalyptic fiction to not get all squeamish about California sinking into the ocean or whatever. It happens. It's supposed to be scary, in a roller coaster sort of way.
There is something frightening, and in a whole different way than the author intends, no doubt, about using a real, sitting U.S. Senator as the target for a fictional assassination in a book that is a thinly-, at best, veiled manifesto on the evils of the Left.