Wright for America by Robin Lamont

Wright for America by Robin LamontReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

What is wrong with America? There are plenty of things that can be pointed to, depending on your political and moral viewpoints, that could qualify as failings of the United States as a country and a society. What is right with America? Again, that is very subjective and difficult to pinpoint. But, Wright for America by Robin Lamont is a thought-provoking satirical novel which people of every political stripe should find interesting, controversial, and imminently readable.

Pryor Wright’s ultra-conservative radio show, Wright for America!, has a large audience. He knows them well, and appeals to their core Tea party-like beliefs on what is moral, harshly condemning homosexuality and saying that liberals are responsible for many of the things that are wrong with America. He urges American citizens to “Wake up!” and says the current President’s efforts to support a piece of legislation he doesn’t agree with is: “like Caligula ruled the Roman Empire.” Wright also calls the ACLU the: “Always Complaining Lie-through-their teeth Uberliberals.”

Everyone is entitled to his/her viewpoints, right? But, Wright’s particular viewpoint rankles many people. The main protagonist of the novel, Maren Garrity, believes that Wright’s anti-homosexuality stance directly contributed to her twin brother, Dell, being savagely attacked and sent to the hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

Maren is an aspiring actress, though she makes ends meet by working for a P.I. firm, SherFire. Her current case there is working to uncover people behind the spread of counterfeit designer purses and other merchandise. It’s big business, but costs companies like Gucci, Verscae, and Lacoste millions of dollars per year. Maren disguises herself as Rita Johnson, from “Elite Party Resources,” and tries to get evidence that a company operated by someone called Bakhar has been behind the spread of counterfeit designer knock-offs.

Trouble is, the FBI has bugged Bakhar’s office, also, believing he’s a terrorist. Listening into the conversation “Rita,” has with Bakhar, they believe Rita and Bakhar are speaking using code words, and are referring to terroristic activities. They don’t realize that Maren, as “Rita,” is one of the Good Guys. One of the agents falls for Maren, but he’s really attracted to the woman he thinks she is, Rita.

Maren tries to go through legal channels to prove the people who attacked her brother were directly influenced by the words of Pryor Wright. However, everyone she talks to, while they may on the surface act as if they’re sympathetic, tell her she likely has no legal recourse. Wright’s words are protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech. Garrity doesn’t want to give up, though, so she goes undercover as one of Wright’s interns. If it takes framing him, so be it.

That is one aspect about Wright for America that kind of bothered me, that is, the author making her protagonist someone who is not entirely likable. Maren believes that the ends justify the means, and that Pryor Wright’s vehement words of hate were the direct cause of Dell’s injuries, so Wright is–in her mind–culpable, just as if he’d personally attacked her brother.

While we feel sorry, as we read, for what has happened to Dell, and while we can sympathize with Maren and perhaps reason that freedom of speech should end where it infringes upon the rights of others to lead happy, injury-free lives, it is still difficult to defend Garrity’s actions. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. Still, Maren’s determination to see that whoever is behind Dell’s injuries pay is understandable, and makes her motivations very realistic.

Wright for America is a political satire that hits home, especially in today’s world, where political and moral lines seem so starkly drawn in the sand. Hate speech and hate crimes are subjects we read about every day in the newspapers, or hear about on the radio and television. Robin Lamont, who also has been a private investigator, prosecutor, and actress, draws on her own background to create three-dimensional, realistic characters.

Robin performed on Broadway in Godspell, and her original cast recording of “Day by Day,” has become a classic. It’s one of my favorite songs from the musical. Robin’s first novel, If the Right Hand, was awarded the Gold Medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards and named Best of 2011 by Suspense Magazine. Wright for America is destined to also win awards with its blend of satire and the belief by so-called political commentators that they can say whatever nonsense they want, without being held culpable for their words when others are influenced by them. Check out Wright for America today!

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