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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Thrillers / Suspense
  • Language:English
  • Pages:144
  • eBook ISBN:9781667891965
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667891958

The Voting Dead Project

by Bill Smith

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The Voting Dead Project by Bill Smith is an entertaining fusion of dystopia, crime fiction, action thriller, and political satire. Caden and Ben had been best friends since school. In January 2019, Ben wrote to Caden that he was going dark to design user-testing protocols for an anonymous shadow company. Caden never heard from Ben again. In September 2020, Caden was shocked to read in a morning newspaper that the body found in Drayton Harbor in July 2019 was identified as Ben’s. A few days later, Caden received an anonymous letter in the code language Ben had developed for their private communications, telling Caden to “buy mystery box at antique mall.” Grieving for his best friend and wondering what had happened to Ben, Caden went to the antique mall as instructed by Ben in his letter. What will Caden discover?

The Voting Dead Project by Bill Smith captivated me with its unusual fusion of genres. “Death, disability, mediums, graves, and voting” drive the plot to its most unexpected ending. I liked the diary format in which the story unfolds and the array of topics Bill deftly covered in this concise novella. I also read with interest about the esoteric scientific research of horror films Caden was pursuing. But most of all, I liked this novella's hilarious political satire aspect, enriched with the well-researched topical discourse about racism and potential methods of suppression of voting in the presidential elections in the USA. This captivating story will thrill dystopia, mystery, crime fiction, political satire, thriller, and adventure fans.  5 Star review by Olga Markova for Readers' Favorite

VCU professor Caden Cole, on sabbatical in Washington state to research the economic impact of vampire films on the Olympic Peninsula, learns the unidentified body found near the Canadian border is Ben Dunn, his best friend from graduate school. Obsessed with finding Ben's killers, Caden enlists two young women to help him research Ben's recent past. Caden discovers Ben signed a secret contract with the Council of 5 to control future presidential elections. Using data collected by a medium in two Southern cemeteries, the Council plans to gerrymander a new demographic of voters: dead white male Confederates and their sons from the Jim Crow era. In effect, they're resurrecting the Lost Cause to stop unwanted changes. Ben and his colleague apply Occam's Razor to the data and realize the impact of the Council's skewed vision on democracy. Enraged, Ben's research partner plans to expose the project, angering the Cabal and leading to Ben's death. On January 6, as Caden returns to Virginia, he realizes his research mirrors Ben's and is endangering his and his intern's lives.
About the author

Bill Smith is an emeritus professor of English at Western Washington University, where he taught intro to college writing, technical writing, disability studies, and the horror film. He also taught full-time at four other universities, two of them in the South. Although, he edited a refereed journal, co-authored college textbooks and numerous academic articles, he now writes only fiction. His first short story, "Tellin' Tales," appears under "Southern Voice" in Deep South Magazine (2021). Having grown up in Jacksonville, N.C., he's writing a collection of coastal Carolina short stories, hoping to finish before he becomes organic soil. The VD Project is his response to the Covid pandemic.

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