Book Review: Potlatch

I haven’t posted a book review in quite some time. This isn’t’t necessarily intentional. I just spend so much time driving on my days off now that there isn’t time to read the books and/or write the reviews.

I am breaking that silence now with hopes of pointing you toward Bruce Hartman’s latest work. His latest book is called Potlatch and is a story told with the same wit and humor as Big Data is Watching You!.

If you aren’t familiar with Hartman’s satirical works, let me paraphrase what I wrote in regards to another of his stories: “Bruce Hartman does to contemporary fiction what Douglas Adams did to Science Fiction and Terry Pratchett did to Fantasy.” Please note that I only call it contemporary fiction because I don’t believe what he is writing about is dystopian; it is all happening in the real world, right now!

Here is what I had to say about Potlatch in particular:

Potlach is essentially a story about Alice Coggins and her lazy but industrious scam-artist father Ray (although the term politician could be used interchangeably with the much-less-offensive term ‘scam-artist’). Ray has long known that the entire world economy is a house of cards -or hundreds upon hundreds of card houses stacked one on top of the other like a slightly less stable game of Jenga®- but he’s never had the resources to get to the top level: Non-profits. If you want to make real money, you have to be in the Non-profit game. Ray has a spark of genius when he realizes that he could add his own house of cards right to the top level with nothing but a winning smile and a worthless scrap of paper -all perfectly legal and proper. All he has to do is outsmart a sea of corrupt politicians (or just politicians, if you prefer), ponzi schemers, dubious insurance companies, devious bankers, and shill-bidding Non-profit companies to make it happen. Many have tried to navigate their way through this before, but none have come armed with Ray’s most valuable asset: a worthless scrap of paper.

Bruce Hartman is a master of satire and with Potlatch he really raises the bar. Potlatch is chock full of clever wit and satire, but the characters never wink to the camera. The narrator’s improbable explanations are all so clearly and logically stated that the layman may miss the tongue-in-cheek nature of them. Hartman’s ability to translate false logic into believable fact is legendary in Potlatch. Potlatch is a definite must-read for any fan of satire… Just make sure to put on your tinfoil hat first.

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