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Father’s Day

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The year is 2003, and the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution are about to be tested: President Teddy Jay, who has some months before relinquished power to his Vice President, is now ready to return to office. Yet his successor, the ambitious and more than a bit ruthless “Shy” Garland, is unwilling to resume the number two position without a fight. This novel, with its innumerable plot twists and changes of location, skillfully dramatizes what might happen if the legal procedures involving the succession of the presidency were tested in a highly charged political climate.

Much of the novel’s effectiveness derives from Batchelor’s ability to juxtapose an unthinkable scenario—a palace coup at the White House—with characters and settings familiar from modern news broadcasts. Batchelor observes the rituals of Congress with painstaking detail, and the assorted scoundrels who walk the corridors of power in the novel will remind the reader of contemporary political personalities. Even grimmer than the domestic situation described in the novel is the international situation, the source of two important subplots: Fictional civil wars and natural disasters have destroyed cities, and American troops have been dispatched to maintain order.

FATHER’S DAY provides a fascinating perspective on power and its corrupting effects. Batchelor portrays the leaders of both political parties and of both houses of Congress as motivated by an overwhelming lust for power—villains who use voters, the media, and even the military as pawns in a game whose grand prize is the American presidency. The reader will be reminded of the classic thriller SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964), another page-turner whose political vision was pessimistic but, unfortunately, all too plausible.