Midwest Book Review

This review is from: Dance with the Shadow Machine (Paperback)

The debate between liberty and security in America will rage on for quite some time. "Dance with the Shadow Machine" is a novel that delves into this debate as Joel Goodman spins a story of Daniel and Charlie's involvement in a crisis that threatens America's future as this conflict comes to a head. "Dance with the Shadow Machine" is a must for fans of speculative fiction with a big dose of political intrigue.


By Steve Brown (Tulsa, OK United States) Amazon Verified Purchase

Reading this book was like going on an adventure to a "possible future." It's a cautionary tale of what can happen if we remain complacent and numb by hiding in commercialism, materialism and other distractions instead of waking up and challenging the political and media inspired mindset of fear. We appear to be on the path to the place that the book takes us, where the American dream has been reinterpreted as chasing comfort and complete security. In this book the powers-that-be have taken complete security to a whole new level. And the results affect everything from commerce to the shape of the county we will no longer recognize. The author has clearly done his research about the military, and has been a careful observer of the direction politics has been going for a while. The thing that impressed me the most is the actual story and depth of the characters. The answers to the mystery of what is really going on is revealed through a quick paced second half that you won't want to put down.

By PJ - Amazon Verified Purchase

Stunning work. There is a lot of politics in this novel, all of which adds to the story. Seeing America in this story as Joel Goodman lays it out made me see where we may be going. I just read in the news where some travelers don't mind the new airport security procedures. It was like a page out of the novel. Actually, the very first chapter deals with invasive security procedures. In fact, the entire book is about as timely as it could be. Either Mr. Goodman is an extremely fast writer or he is a fortune teller. From what I've been able to gather, he started the book several years ago. So, I guess he has been looking around the bend in the road. I loved his description of the rise of the New Age Liberal Party and how it was sold to the public. I couldn't help think about Obama and Palin, and how they suddenly were sold to us. I will say that the story does have strong existential overtones, especially in the character study of the protagonist. Buy it and read it. I am going to read it again very soon

Barnes and Noble

Surprising. Good read. Great characters - both funny and poignant.
Posted September 9, 2010, 2:42 PM EST:

I thought the cover was interesting and read the blurb, and bought the book. Intense read. I didn't put it down for very long, as I wanted to know what was happening next. The book is better than what the blurb would indicate. Couldn't find out much about the author, but he can write. The story turned my head around about what is going on in America. The book is not only a political story, but a suspenseful tale about people and how they will succumb to what they are lead to believe. The story is really about people. I loved the characters. They are super real and believable. The writing is crisp and without a lot of flowery description. The judge is a wonderful creation of imagination and fact. I don't know if he is supposed to be the central character, but he made the book for me. Daniel, one of the other main characters is like an old time hurting film noir character. I hope this becomes a film. This is somewhere between Hemingway and Clancy. Big ground - but a different kind of book.

Plot, Plot, Plot -- Characters, Characters, Characters
Posted September 6, 2010, 8:57 AM EST:

Funny thing about this book. Not knowing exactly what to expect, when I started reading I didn't quite know if it was well written. After a while I forgot about whether the author knew what he was doing and just got into the book. Having just finished the book, and starting to re-read it, I can say it is a very good book. The writing style is very different from what is out there. Being so different, it threw me. I guess I'm accustomed to the more 'well written, stylistic' books that let you know they're well written. Joel Goodman seems to have the knack of getting out of the way of his own story, and make it seems as if it's just happening. I would say it it is a deceptively well written book. The style is not exactly minimalist, but there is not a lot of the usual description. That is not to say that the scenes were not descriptive, they were. I could visualize everything that was occurring, whether it was the battle scenes in the jungle, (hope I'm not killing the story for anyone) or the love making. I felt as if I was right there. This book is very large in scope, although it sticks to its story. I absolutely loved the characters, and am hoping there is a sequel to this book at some time. (That is my suggestion to the author, if he hasn't already started on one.) I'm afraid to say too much and give away the plot, but it is a doozy. I kind of think that this could have been two books, but I'm not complaining that the author was able to put it all together in such a neat package. Some of the politics and there is some, stated and inferred, will probably bother some folks. I suggest a sense of humor when reading this book. There is some very dry humor in this book, almost black humor, but just when it's funny, suddenly it's not, and when its not funny, sometimes it suddenly is. The NYC Massacres is one of those scenes. If you're not from New York you may miss some of the humor. If you do, ask someone who was there. It's worth it. I am waiting for the hard cover to be available, as I've been told it will be. I am going to keep this one on my book shelf and revisit once in a while.


Comments about Dance with the Shadow Machine:

An eye opener. Surprisingly subtle work. What seems not so real real at first glance - may just be more real than I would like to believe it is. It's science fiction in the real world, and it made me question if the real world is possibly as "nuts" as the world that is portrayed in the story. The characters are believable and intriguing and so I was caught up in their experiences and relationships with each other; which in turn allowed me to to accept their situation. Nothing far fetched about this story. I particularly liked the love/devotion between the male friends. The women are strong and funny, and interesting. It takes place in Los Angeles and I was looking over my shoulder after reading it! Everything else aside, it's a good read. Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend