Title: Term Limits
Author: Vince Flynn
Flynn, Vince (1997). Term Limits. New York: Pocket Books
PS3556.L94 T4 1997
Date Posted: January 8, 2017
An underwhelming first technothriller—originally self-published. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” says Michael O’Rourke to his girlfriend, thus justifying the triple murder of a US senator and a pair of congressmen. They didn’t deserve to live, he further insists, guilty as they were of mismanaging their country’s business. In fact, virtually all politicians—Republicans and Democrats alike—are similarly guilty. Still, the assassinations are meant not merely as punishment but as a warning. Politicians had better shape up, be upright, set aside partisanship, and balance the budget. Or else. Young Michael, the hero of Flynn’s dismal fable, is himself a congressman—the exception that proves the rule. He’s sore at his government and has his reasons. His parents were killed in an automobile accident; the driver of the other car, it turned out, was a drunk, a repeat offender, who should have been off the streets, in jail. Due to the aforementioned mismanagement, however, the government can’t build enough prisons. Nor is this mismanagement accidental; rather, it’s the inevitable result of self-serving cabals and wicked conspiracies. And as a variety of the aforesaid cabals maneuver to stop the terrorists, Michael finds himself caught squarely in the middle, very much on his own. While there are conspiracies galore here, much of the novel has an undercrafted feel to it: one-dimensional types, clumsy, often careless writing. (Flynn’s heroine has “big brown eyes”; a “freedom fighter” has “bright blue eyes”—information delivered frequently, each time as if newly minted.) At length, the cabal is thwarted, the once misunderstood terrorist vindicated. “You’re not going to believe what’s on this,” Michael says, handing over the tape that reveals the depth of the conspiracy. He’s right. A sure-fire hit for readers who share Flynn’s political outlook—the government as ogre.