“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep.
I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”
– Alexander the Great
This epic quote from Alexander the Great quite succinctly sums up both the political landscape in America today as well as the fictionalized one created by Jason Pinter in his electrifying new thriller entitled THE CASTLE. The comparisons do not end there, but I digress. Let’s start with our protagonist.
Jeremy ‘Remy’ Stanton is one of a million other hard-working, over-achieving young people seeking to take their very own bite out of The Big Apple. It won’t be his hard work and determination on the job that gets him noticed but the split second and seemingly random act that occurs one night after work.
Remy is leaving one of his favorite Midtown drinking establishments when he comes across a tense scene. A young couple is being terrorized by two armed robbers. Whether it be his intestinal fortitude, liquid fortification or a combination of both — Remy springs into action to defend the intended robbery victims. He is successful but does not find out exactly what happened until he wakes up in a NYC hospital after requiring life-saving surgery for the bullet that pierced his shoulder and part of a major artery.
When he awakens the first face he sees is the young woman he had saved. She may not have looked familiar at night (and after a few cocktails) but Remy is immediately able to place her now as Alena Griggs — daughter of the billionaire real estate developer and one of the most recognized men in the world, Rawson Griggs. Alena’s mother passed away when she was a little girl so her Daddy means the whole world to her. In fact, Rawson is held in much higher esteem than even her husband, Paul Bracewell, who was with her at the time of the attempted robbery.
Money is no object when it comes to seeing Remy heal up quickly. Once Rawson personally vets Remy and has his own face-to-face with him he sees an opportunity. Ever the opportunist, Rawson Griggs seizes the chance to use this accidental meeting between his daughter and Remy Stanton and decides to use it to help him in his ultimate end game — becoming a third party candidate who is elected President of the United States. Rawson has plenty of detractors and others who simply don’t take his run seriously. Unlike the current 45th President of the United States (no need to continue drawing comparisons to the fictional Griggs because they are endless), Griggs has created his own party to defy both the Democrats and Republicans —The Mayflower Party. His platform and ideas for widespread and global reform will really seem familiar to anyone who has watched the news or read a newspaper in the last two years, but election is not a foregone conclusion. Getting someone like Remy Stanton, the golden boy of social media, in his camp could open many doors, minds and pockets to support Grigg’s Presidential run and essentially put him over the top.
Of course, if you go the other route and get on Rawson’s bad side he can essentially destroy you and everyone you know in the blink of an eye. This is what has been occurring between Rawson and his wishy-washy son-in-law Paul. When readers learn that Paul has in fact been playing double-agent and reporting everything he knows about Rawson to the Campaign Manager of the Democratic contender you just know things are not going to end well.
Meanwhile, Remy is enjoying the ride. He is part of Team Griggs and they are all well on their way to the ultimate victory. He also appears to have a flowering relationship with Alena, even though any possible relationship would also not end well. The Rawson Griggs Campaign has many enemies including a terrorist who attacks them at his very own high-rise, nicknamed The Castle, in Midtown Manhattan. Several people lose their lives in that attack and Griggs uses that to build and create a new foundation of sympathy for those who may have been on the fence about supporting his efforts.
It seems like nothing can go wrong for Remy. Of course, this being a thriller penned by master plotter Jason Pinter, you recognize that the euphoria will be very short lived. When Remy is approached by the same Democratic contact that Paul Bracewell has been dealing with (the ironically named Paul Rimbaud) he is given a virtual slap in the face about realizing who Rawson Griggs really is and why Remy and the country are in really big trouble if his campaign succeeds. Initially, Remy scoffs at these allegations and turns Rimbaud away. But the wheels in Remy’s head keep turning…
Remy has a moment of morality and begins digging into Rawson Griggs on his own and that places him firmly at the crossroads part of the novel. I have to stop here so as to preserve the many twists, turns and surprises Jason Pinter has in store for you. Let’s just say you won’t be disappointed and there will not be a single character involved you won’t feel differently about before the novel’s conclusion.
THE CASTLE is really hot stuff as well as incredibly relevant and timely. It’s also compulsively readable and deserves to be in the hands of every commuter, beach-goer, traveler and late-night insomniac who loves to read. However, if you’re a commuter in NYC, be sure and read this one carefully looking over your shoulder and casually gazing at your fellow passengers the entire time. You never know who might be watching…