Review — A Novel Straight From The Headlines

Filed in Gather Books Essential by on March 4, 2008 0 Comments

  The Bathsheba Deadline: An Original Novel Review of Jack Engelhard’s THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE (Paperback)

By Cinnamon Stillwell – online columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle

On one hand, a scintillating love triangle based on the biblical story of King David, Uriah and the beautiful and desirable Bathsheba, The Bathsheba Deadline is also a clever and wonderfully perceptive look at contemporary journalism and the post-9/11 political backdrop.

Indeed, political junkies looking for fiction straight out of the headlines need look no further. Engelhard captures a country, and a world, caught up in conflict and haunted by the specter of the unknown. It is a time in which the modern and the ancient all too often collide.

The novel touches on such pertinent political and social issues as the Middle East conflict, the treatment of women under Islam, mixed Jewish and Christian heritage, America and the war on terrorism, and the role of journalism amongst it all. Indeed, the main setting for the novel is a fictional daily newspaper called The Manhattan Independent and its main characters are its managing editor, book editor and a reporter.

Author Jack Engelhard gives much credit to the growing influence of online journalism and the blogosphere, or what he labels in the novel, “Bypass Journalism.” Online journalism is in fact starting to supersede print and television and Engelhard knows it.

Seeing as he himself is an accomplished online columnist, as well as the author of previous novels, one of which, “Indecent Proposal,” was adapted (after having Arab/Jewish themes erased by Hollywood’s political correctness censors) for a film of the same name, his observations are right on the money.

But the book has much more to offer than journalism or politics. Filled with romance, sex, witty banter, philosophical reminiscences, heart stopping thrills, a no-nonsense (and, I might add, sexy) lead man and an ever-alluring femme fatale, The Bathsheba Deadline is an entertaining ride.

It’s the kind of novel I found myself nodding in knowing agreement and smiling or sighing in shared sentiment throughout. Beyond the great characters, the elegant writing, and the charming slices of life, it touched on so many issues that I found personally and politically relevant that I couldn’t help but be drawn in.

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