By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views,
The book will be available in Spring 2018 at your favorite bookseller.
In real life author Debra Tash is a friendly, kind, and affable person who fits the definition of what one would like in a friend. But put her behind a word processor, the writer “Debra” in her recent novel Last Call America, Last Call Before Darkness Falls, pens a chilling tale about what transpires in a post constitutional USA which has been taken over by a totalitarian dictatorship
Homeland Security takes the place of democracy and representative government. Citizens are herded into the cities to work in factories. Those who actively resist are arrested and ultimately liquidated. Others who prefer the country lifestyle are starved to death by a central government which controls virtually every aspect of people’s lives.
If Last Call America sounds a lot like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or George Orwell’s 1984, there is good reason. All of these books belong in the genre of “dystopia.” While this world of a pessimistic, repressive, government with no regard to the plight of the people sounds more like a case for Doctor Phil to solve, it poses a real threat to our society today.
Stifling the first amendment, diluting religious Freedom, limiting job choice, unlawful taxation, disintegration of the family, and losing one’s identity are all issues to be reckoned with. Tash takes these important aspects of today’s America and places them in a society where a modern version of Big Brother controls all.
Naturally, there is major resistance to dystopian America. The heroine of Last Call America is Rebecca Sanders, a second generation opponent to the forces of evil. Things change for her when Jason Poole, a dashing army officer, walks into the diner she runs with her sister Tina in rural Massachusetts. Poole at first just wants a cup of coffee. This leads to a desire for outlawed black-market fresh eggs that come from a hidden coup on the property.
In time Rebecca and Captain Poole become lovers and join the resistance which resides on the other side of the border in Vermont. It is not a coincidence that the story unfolds in the same region where the Revolutionary War in the 1700’s took place.
Tash does a clever job of associating what went on then to the happenings of today. In a sense Last Call America has a large helping of historical fiction in its plot lines. Tash’s earlier novel, Challenge the Wind takes place during the revolutionary war in Pennsylvania. In a way Last Call America is what happens if the British had won and continued to repress the population.
The character of Rebecca Sanders is a strong women whose sense of purpose is not diminished by defeats on the battlefield as Homeland Security tries to quell the rebellion. To do so new weaponry is utilized called the “Charon” It is an electronic field that kills or maims everyone it touches much like a bolt of lightning. The only way it can be detoured is if shields are put in place to block its deadly force.
Gun enthusiasts should not be disappointed because these death rays are supplemented with conventional arms that the totalitarian government was not able to seize. Much of the second half of the book is taken up by the battle between the good guys and the fascist Homeland Security forces.
Ultimately Rebecca or “Honey Beck”, as the charming Texan Poole calls her, is able to triumph. As the book unfolds it is impossible to not see the resemblance with fictional character Dagny Taggart from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Rest assured our heroine is not destined to ride a train to Colorado to meet up with Hank Reardon or John Galt.
So what is to learned from Last Call America’s cautionary tale of big government gone wrong? According to Tash the reader hopefully learns:
- Stand up for your beliefs no matter what anyone else says even if they lead to scary ramifications.
- Everyone must realize that one day you are going to lose which is part of the game
- One must always carry on because if you do nothing, all is lost.
- Weapons of mass destruction not only have collateral damage for the populace, but also adversely affects those who use and create them.
Last call America is a page turner. Although parts of it are disturbing, (I had bad dreams one night) the pay-off is a thought provoking book which is well worth spending the time to read.
Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.