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Sleight of Eye
by Elaine McCullough View author's profile page

Overview


Overview by the Author:

The chaos of 2020 had abated and America was recovering. Then came the coup.

Now it’s 2040, and a theocratic president has been in the White House for almost ten years. Christian Nationalism, capitalism, and shallow entertainment are the only things not censored in the media. Terrorist bombings are commonplace, and abject poverty and lawlessness are spreading out from the heartland.

But the coastal states remain solvent as they struggle against federal control. And tough, deliberate men like former Secret Service agent Sam Wolf are still protecting the defenseless and doing justice.

While on his mother’s Ojibwe reservation, Wolf and his best friend Lenny are shot and thrown into a mysterious pit. But Wolf survives, resolving to find Lenny’s killer. His quest takes him from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across the dangerous heartland, and finally to the sloughs and levees of the California Delta.

Wolf does catch the killer, but he finds someone he prizes much more: a stunning woman who possesses serious bionic magic. And he is spellbound.

He soon joins an unusual team of maverick FBI agents and Native Americans whose mission is to uncover the secrets of the mysterious pit. What they discover is not just shocking: it could shatter an already divided nation.

 

Read more

Description


Descriptions by Reviewers: 

     According to Bill De Herder, author of Over the Transom, Sleight of Eye is "An expertly-paced political thriller set in a future we all fear, driven by intense action, intimacy, and tension." 

Here is the descriptive review of Sleight of Eye by Rebecca Thaddeus, author of One Amber Bead, My Mother’s Daughter, and Coming to Be:

     The United States is divided. Violence rules the streets: murders and assassinations are the norm. And if you are not properly “churched,” your life is in danger. But the question that will keep you wondering is whether or not Sam Wolf and Ava Faraldo can find love in this dystopian world.

     Elaine McCullough’s first novel of an upcoming series offers the reader action-packed suspense on every page. Sam and Ava, both flawed characters, nonetheless accept danger and sacrifice to try to bring justice to this troubled world. With all odds against them, will they succeed?

     Sleight of Eye brilliantly uses contemporary events that will make the reader wonder whether the novel is fiction or dire warning. Even the title evokes wonder—why “Sleight of Eye”? Read the book to find out.

And here is Tammy Ruggles' review for Readers’ Favorite:

     Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a compelling story for dystopian fans everywhere. It's set in the future, but hits a little close to present-day situations in a lot of ways, making you wonder if the world is heading in the direction that McCullough describes. Heroes Sam and Ava try to help those that they can, fighting against greed, political corruption, and corporate terrorism in an America that can't be called "The United States" now, because it's been divided into zones. But they aren't comic book heroes. You'll be immersed in a future America you hope never to see, and may find yourself wondering if we aren't living in the foreshadow of it already. The author is a fantastic writer who knows how to build a world you can believe in, dialogue that crackles with life, and characters you can relate to. Her characters have quirks, strengths, and shortcomings, just like the rest of us. These elements ground you in the story and compel you to keep reading until you reach the end, because you want, or need, to know what happens.

     Given today's world of Covid-19 and the ramifications, not to mention our country's division due to politics, religion, racism, and other factors, it isn't hard to imagine a dystopian society where things have fallen into chaos. The plot is well-paced, the action keeps the pages turning, and the characters in such intense situations are what really drive this story and make it shine in the midst of murky possibilities. Wolf is admirable, and the Native American themes are intriguing. McCullough's descriptions are exquisitely detailed, especially of the devastated landscape once known as America, made more poignant and chilling by the ever-present specter of the pandemic in our psyches. Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a dystopian novel for today's world.

If you want to read on, here are two additional descriptive reviews.

Here is Maureen Dangarembizi's review for Readers’ Favorite:

Sleight Of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a futuristic action thriller set in 2040. Sam Wolf is a former Secret Service agent. Even though he’s left his former profession, he continues to work with a force bent on keeping law and order in a fractured United States. While returning from a mission, Sam and his partner Lenny are attacked on his family’s lands. His partner dies but Sam manages to crawl out of the grave his would-be murderers had buried him in. Driven by a burning need for vengeance, he pursues his partner’s killers. He soon finds out that Lenny’s murder is anything but a random shooting and the men he is chasing will do anything to protect their secrets.

     It's been a long time since I have read about a Native American of Sam Wolf’s ilk and I’m not disappointed. Sleight Of Eye focuses on a potential future two decades after the current coronavirus pandemic. They have a new coronavirus in the future but that’s the least of their problems. Religious fanatics are everywhere and they are not Muslims. I liked that a lot because Elaine McCullough shows us that every religion has the potential to become dangerous - if not now then perhaps in the future. And Sam was the perfect hero who didn’t let what others believed stop him from doing the right thing, even at the cost of his own life. There’s also a romance tastefully done and satisfying. I enjoyed the sense of family. There is nothing like a caring community to help someone in troubled times and I saw this as a recurring theme from start to finish.

And here is the descriptive review of Caroline Thompson, memoirist and book lover: 

     If you are up for an exciting ride, this is the book for you. Political factions and the resulting upheaval have torn the country apart: there is no longer a “United” States. The states have been divided West and East vs. Mid-America, and terror reigns across the land. But we find that there are large pockets of honesty and caring, especially along the West Coast, where a strong resurgence of strong, brilliant men and women fight for good over evil.

     This book has everything from the despicable actions of those who try to take over the entire country, to the stand taken by those fighting to retain the honor and integrity of our once great nation. The characters jump from the pages, real, lifelike, knowable as friend and foe. 

     The pages are filled with gripping action scenes: the beauty of love and giving, juxtaposed against terrifying scenes of hate and greed. The desire to preserve the best of what was once the United States of America and her supporters is uppermost in the cadre of protagonists who await you in this totally engrossing read.


Read more

About the author


While Elaine McCullough was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia, she came to love the Russian people and their culture, and she hoped their country would join the Western democracies. Then Putin came to power, and her hopes, which so many shared, were soon dashed. Subsequently, she studied the nefarious influence that the Russian government and the Russian mob, Bratva, began spreading across the globe, but particularly in the United States. Now, her research focuses on how democracy is being dismantled by authoritarians in her own government.

In her other pursuits, McCullough used her Ph.D. in Language, Rhetoric, and the Theory of Composition as a professor at Ferris State University in Michigan. She taught linguistics and a variety of literature and writing courses, including persuasive and technical writing; and she helped plan the University's approach to online learning. She and a colleague owned a consulting company that delivered writing seminars throughout Michigan, and they wrote a column about writing for an area business journal. She lives deep in the north woods, caring for her rescued animals and writing novels.

Sleight of Eye, the first novel of McCullough's American Archipelago series, is at heart a Hero's Journey, as it is so well researched and described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  A spirit helper, a frightening vision, and enemy tricksters inform McCullough's tale of Sam Wolf, a hero who survives a perilous quest to reach his fulfillment and then returns to his origins with helpers powerful enough to save his society.



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Book details

Genre:FICTION

Subgenre:Thrillers

Language:English

Series title:American Archipelago

Series Number:1

Pages:406

Format:Paperback

eBook ISBN:9780972052849

Paperback ISBN:9780972052856


Overview


Overview by the Author:

The chaos of 2020 had abated and America was recovering. Then came the coup.

Now it’s 2040, and a theocratic president has been in the White House for almost ten years. Christian Nationalism, capitalism, and shallow entertainment are the only things not censored in the media. Terrorist bombings are commonplace, and abject poverty and lawlessness are spreading out from the heartland.

But the coastal states remain solvent as they struggle against federal control. And tough, deliberate men like former Secret Service agent Sam Wolf are still protecting the defenseless and doing justice.

While on his mother’s Ojibwe reservation, Wolf and his best friend Lenny are shot and thrown into a mysterious pit. But Wolf survives, resolving to find Lenny’s killer. His quest takes him from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across the dangerous heartland, and finally to the sloughs and levees of the California Delta.

Wolf does catch the killer, but he finds someone he prizes much more: a stunning woman who possesses serious bionic magic. And he is spellbound.

He soon joins an unusual team of maverick FBI agents and Native Americans whose mission is to uncover the secrets of the mysterious pit. What they discover is not just shocking: it could shatter an already divided nation.

 

Read more

Description


Descriptions by Reviewers: 

     According to Bill De Herder, author of Over the Transom, Sleight of Eye is "An expertly-paced political thriller set in a future we all fear, driven by intense action, intimacy, and tension." 

Here is the descriptive review of Sleight of Eye by Rebecca Thaddeus, author of One Amber Bead, My Mother’s Daughter, and Coming to Be:

     The United States is divided. Violence rules the streets: murders and assassinations are the norm. And if you are not properly “churched,” your life is in danger. But the question that will keep you wondering is whether or not Sam Wolf and Ava Faraldo can find love in this dystopian world.

     Elaine McCullough’s first novel of an upcoming series offers the reader action-packed suspense on every page. Sam and Ava, both flawed characters, nonetheless accept danger and sacrifice to try to bring justice to this troubled world. With all odds against them, will they succeed?

     Sleight of Eye brilliantly uses contemporary events that will make the reader wonder whether the novel is fiction or dire warning. Even the title evokes wonder—why “Sleight of Eye”? Read the book to find out.

And here is Tammy Ruggles' review for Readers’ Favorite:

     Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a compelling story for dystopian fans everywhere. It's set in the future, but hits a little close to present-day situations in a lot of ways, making you wonder if the world is heading in the direction that McCullough describes. Heroes Sam and Ava try to help those that they can, fighting against greed, political corruption, and corporate terrorism in an America that can't be called "The United States" now, because it's been divided into zones. But they aren't comic book heroes. You'll be immersed in a future America you hope never to see, and may find yourself wondering if we aren't living in the foreshadow of it already. The author is a fantastic writer who knows how to build a world you can believe in, dialogue that crackles with life, and characters you can relate to. Her characters have quirks, strengths, and shortcomings, just like the rest of us. These elements ground you in the story and compel you to keep reading until you reach the end, because you want, or need, to know what happens.

     Given today's world of Covid-19 and the ramifications, not to mention our country's division due to politics, religion, racism, and other factors, it isn't hard to imagine a dystopian society where things have fallen into chaos. The plot is well-paced, the action keeps the pages turning, and the characters in such intense situations are what really drive this story and make it shine in the midst of murky possibilities. Wolf is admirable, and the Native American themes are intriguing. McCullough's descriptions are exquisitely detailed, especially of the devastated landscape once known as America, made more poignant and chilling by the ever-present specter of the pandemic in our psyches. Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a dystopian novel for today's world.

If you want to read on, here are two additional descriptive reviews.

Here is Maureen Dangarembizi's review for Readers’ Favorite:

Sleight Of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a futuristic action thriller set in 2040. Sam Wolf is a former Secret Service agent. Even though he’s left his former profession, he continues to work with a force bent on keeping law and order in a fractured United States. While returning from a mission, Sam and his partner Lenny are attacked on his family’s lands. His partner dies but Sam manages to crawl out of the grave his would-be murderers had buried him in. Driven by a burning need for vengeance, he pursues his partner’s killers. He soon finds out that Lenny’s murder is anything but a random shooting and the men he is chasing will do anything to protect their secrets.

     It's been a long time since I have read about a Native American of Sam Wolf’s ilk and I’m not disappointed. Sleight Of Eye focuses on a potential future two decades after the current coronavirus pandemic. They have a new coronavirus in the future but that’s the least of their problems. Religious fanatics are everywhere and they are not Muslims. I liked that a lot because Elaine McCullough shows us that every religion has the potential to become dangerous - if not now then perhaps in the future. And Sam was the perfect hero who didn’t let what others believed stop him from doing the right thing, even at the cost of his own life. There’s also a romance tastefully done and satisfying. I enjoyed the sense of family. There is nothing like a caring community to help someone in troubled times and I saw this as a recurring theme from start to finish.

And here is the descriptive review of Caroline Thompson, memoirist and book lover: 

     If you are up for an exciting ride, this is the book for you. Political factions and the resulting upheaval have torn the country apart: there is no longer a “United” States. The states have been divided West and East vs. Mid-America, and terror reigns across the land. But we find that there are large pockets of honesty and caring, especially along the West Coast, where a strong resurgence of strong, brilliant men and women fight for good over evil.

     This book has everything from the despicable actions of those who try to take over the entire country, to the stand taken by those fighting to retain the honor and integrity of our once great nation. The characters jump from the pages, real, lifelike, knowable as friend and foe. 

     The pages are filled with gripping action scenes: the beauty of love and giving, juxtaposed against terrifying scenes of hate and greed. The desire to preserve the best of what was once the United States of America and her supporters is uppermost in the cadre of protagonists who await you in this totally engrossing read.


Read more

About the author


While Elaine McCullough was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia, she came to love the Russian people and their culture, and she hoped their country would join the Western democracies. Then Putin came to power, and her hopes, which so many shared, were soon dashed. Subsequently, she studied the nefarious influence that the Russian government and the Russian mob, Bratva, began spreading across the globe, but particularly in the United States. Now, her research focuses on how democracy is being dismantled by authoritarians in her own government.

In her other pursuits, McCullough used her Ph.D. in Language, Rhetoric, and the Theory of Composition as a professor at Ferris State University in Michigan. She taught linguistics and a variety of literature and writing courses, including persuasive and technical writing; and she helped plan the University's approach to online learning. She and a colleague owned a consulting company that delivered writing seminars throughout Michigan, and they wrote a column about writing for an area business journal. She lives deep in the north woods, caring for her rescued animals and writing novels.

Sleight of Eye, the first novel of McCullough's American Archipelago series, is at heart a Hero's Journey, as it is so well researched and described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  A spirit helper, a frightening vision, and enemy tricksters inform McCullough's tale of Sam Wolf, a hero who survives a perilous quest to reach his fulfillment and then returns to his origins with helpers powerful enough to save his society.



Read more

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