Many years ago, I witnessed my father transitioning from a very successful and entrepreneurial businessman to retirement, and it wasn’t pretty. He’d worked hard all his life, enlisted in the WW2 effort and spent 18 months in a German prison camp after being shot down. When he retired, he felt pushed to the side, irrelevant, and I knew that he wasn’t the only senior who felt that way.
Enter my imagination, penchant for sport watches, and America’s love-affair with guns. What if a watch existed that would tell people when they were going to die, and that some of those people, enough of them, would use their guns to get revenge on the people causing them to feel irrelevant? Perhaps, when word of these revenge acts became widespread, people in general would begin treating seniors with more respect, initially out of fear, but eventually out of custom and habit.
Introducing FINAL NOTICE. Set in the near future, the plot centers on the age-old question, “If you knew – for certain – that you only had 10, 20 or 30 days to live, what would you do?” This time, the catalyst for posing this question is the development and testing of a new health/sports watch which is so advanced, it can analyze minute changes in the blood and even predict imminent death ... sending owners a “Final Notice” alert.
The Final Notice feature was initially included in the watch to allow its wearers to get their affairs in order, say their last goodbyes, etc. But in several cases, the opportunity to get revenge with impunity – afforded by the knowledge of impending death – leads to some very unanticipated results, especially when the Final Notice recipient has easy access to a gun.
Laced with dark humor and political satire, FINAL NOTICE chronicles the reactions of these diverse Notice recipients – ranging from an aimless, retired truck driver to a U.S. Senator ... from a benevolent old woman to an elderly resident of a retirement home ... from a crass, wealthy tycoon to an internationally renowned climate scientist.
But their disparate stories are all woven into the moral dilemmas of several main protagonists: Vijay Patel, the brilliant doctor / mathematician who developed the watch ... Zoe Brouet, the young FBI agent who investigates the murders ... and Vince and Trudy Fuller, a retired middle-class couple with an ethnically-diverse group of friends and an endearing Corgi. It is, in fact, the involvement of these protagonists that fuel much of the suspense in the book.
FINAL NOTICE is a fast-paced page-turner and, while the initial premise of the book – the idea of a watch that can predict imminent death – has something of a sci-fi slant to it (much like the submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), the book is totally believable. And its portrayal of contemporary problems – political corruption, prejudice, and particularly, the role of the NRA in obstructing gun control – will hit a familiar chord with a great majority of people. See Praise for FINAL NOTICE.
Underscoring the book’s message about the lack of effective gun control in the USA, an original song, “Crazy Eddie Got a Gun" (supposedly written by one of the protagonists in the book) is available as a download — for free. (Use the link below.) The song is performed by Jackie Morris, a popular Pandora Folk/Americana singer/songwriter (and Van’s partner).