A Fastball For Freedom: A Review of the Gary Morgenstein Novel

A Fastball for Freedom is the second novel in the dystopian Dark Depths Series written by author Gary Morgenstein. Below you will find a synopsis of the book along with a review.

Synopsis

As A Fastball for Freedom, the second in The Dark Depth series opens we find Puppy Nedick with ex-wife Annette Ramos as London is being attacked.

Puppy is now a prisoner of The Caliphate, wanted for treason and murder in America. He came to Europe in an attempt to prevent World War Four. Puppy and Annette are taken to a military base by Colonel Ali Basa, head of the Shurta, secret police. Basa pursues his ideals of righteous which could affect the upcoming civil war.

Parliament is all Muslim now, pushing the will of Allah. One-hundred thousand refugees fled Muslim Europe but were denied entering America for fear Allahs had hidden terrorists among them. A massive fleet of orphaned children was murdered and both sides — Grandma and the Allahs, blame each other.

All robots with faces have been outlawed because of instances where bots attempted to blend into society posing as humans. Still, bots hide among the world and have their worldly views.

Puppy is forced to take the blame for Grandma’s death and explains her vision that wasn’t supported before World War III. The confession reveals secrets that shake the core of both parties in the war.

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Following Puppy’s shocking admission, the BBC offers a television show to Puppy and Annette called “American Crusaders” to hear what decadent America was once like. The real premise behind the show is manipulation and deceit but at what cost?

As his bidding with The Caliphate continues, Puppy attempts to form a baseball association in an attempt to bring Muslims and Crusaders together. Clinging to his ideals and lost tradition of America’s game, Puppy puts his focus into the game itself hoping it will stop a civil war.

Albert Cheng decides to set the record straight on Grandma’s death. In attempts at peace, he goes on to give himself the title of Grandpa Albert. He uses his power to form an unusual ally in hopes of furthering his agenda.

Elias Kenuda, a Third Cousin, is attempting to deal with his affairs. He’s found love and has aspirations of adopting an orphaned child, Clary. He finds himself in love with Clary’s teacher and learns that his actions will affect The Family and his future.

Zelda Jones has escaped from jail and a Miner’s camp and finds herself in Boston. She is broke and looking for refuge with her son Diego Jr. When she is thrown a curveball, she must decide between her people from her past or look toward the future. She is confronted with the truth and asked to tag along on an important adventure.

Review

In a dystopian future, those in power need just as much faith from those who don’t believe the same way they do. Religion, people, and baseball are the main themes of the story.

No topic is off-limits as the book takes place at the turn of the 22nd century. Characters go through the dilemma of right and wrong but the answer is unclear because of the author’s genius to put themes — government, politics, self-worth, use of social media, sexuality, marriage, artificial intelligence, military, sports —up for debate. He mocks and questions the values of society and their importance. 

The characters are flawed but show humanity. Humanity itself is being questioned as war, death, and morality are examined. Robots and the subject of their role, play a large part in the story. The author raises questions about the role of family, humanity, and faith. The bigger question raised is what place does society have for order when rules apply differently to those in charge and those who don’t share the same beliefs.

Throughout the book, love and its definition are questioned. Can love and desire reunite old flames and strengthen the resolve of couples? Love also reveals secrets, betrayals, and honesty in an attempt to bolster ideals. The belief in each other and the cause for survival is another common theme.

The author paints a picture of taking the reader on a journey of morality. He attempts to tell the story from different points of view using religion, humor, government, and politics. The two main themes of the book revolve around religion and politics with an attempt at intertwining baseball as the stitch that will unite different viewpoints.

Baseball is a game with its own set of rules. However, just like life, those rules are translated differently when it comes to religion. The main character Puppy has no religion, is selfish, impatient, and only cares about baseball. Baseball represents a time when America was at its greatest strength and a time when the world shared passion and competition for the sheer joy of the sport.

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In this second book of the series, the Dark Depth series, baseball is sprinkled throughout. The author does a solid job of bringing nostalgia to both the story’s construct and character but at times lacks depth. Baseball is kept alive through a small number of characters and only one truly embodies its passion.

Morgenstein delivers a plethora of pitches in his story-telling arsenal: A fastball— A fast-paced, page-turning thriller with heat that will have you thinking twice about what you just read. A changeup— Just when you think you’ve got the plot and characters figured out the author slows the story down, setting you up for the next pitch. A curveball— At times it takes effort to learn the social structure, the pace, and humor behind each construct.  

In his attempts to paint the corners with each character, the author is vivid in his details but the transition gets lost at times in his attempts to reveal important plot points and its explanation. The novel reveals twists and turns that complicate characters because of their identities both true and hidden.

Overall, the book is filled with solid creativity towards what a world tore about by war, religion and humanity look like. It develops a vision of the present, past, and future. It questions the reader’s ideas of importance on such topics. Baseball has its narrative but gets lost in the shuffle of interpretative commentary.

The book is set to be available on March 25, 2021. Hopefully, you will pick up a copy and get into for yourself.

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Follow Author Gary Morgenstein on Twitter @writergary.

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