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I recently read A Matter of Timing, a novel written by forum member Glenn E. Miller and I enjoyed it. It is an action-adventure novel, primarily set in the St. Louis, Missouri vicinity after a fictional major earthquake there. I have to admit that the recent tremors in that vicinity spurred me on to read the book!

Glenn blends that natural disaster with a number of political elements; opportunistic terrorist jihad, intra-governmental infighting and militias, and turns this mix loose on his hero, now a civilian but a special ops veteran, and his friends. The result is entertaining and thought-provoking. Language used is occasionally strong, but kept in context. The few sexual encounters are kept at a pretty non-graphic level. Firearm descriptions and operation are detailed and accurate so far as I can tell, especially those of long guns--sniper rifles--which I suspect are Glenn’s primary interest.

The book is well-written, with a number of intertwining plot lines. If I have any problem with it at all, it would be that it could have been better proof-read, but as you may know, that’s a definite quirk of mine. Most people would probably glide right over the occasional minor mistakes and typos that always seem to stop me dead.  Edited to add:  Since I wrote the above, Glenn has informed me of changes coming to the next printing.  In his words, " And I had to smile when you called me on its need of another edit--which was just finished by two astute English professors--and the new edition is going to be available this week...Please pass it on that the properly edited version will be available this week."  His treatment of militias, however, deserves special attention.

Glenn looks at the American militia phenomenon in its classic sense, informally-organized groups of freedom-loving citizens who drill together in anticipation of the need to defend the country – or their piece of it--from enemies domestic and foreign. He recognizes the fact that power-hungry politicians and anti-gun elements would be very happy to see any such group labeled as brigands and made illegal.

That is well and good, but there is another side to the militia phenomenon which isn’t so wholesome. We can (and have) argue about what the difference between a militia and a gang may be and whether the xenophobic groups like the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation are really freedom-loving Americans, but the term militia has been used to blanket and indict a very wide range of groups in this country.

I have no idea of what the goals of the Missouri Militia are, but I do have some familiarity with the Michigan Militia and have heard a representative of the Ohio Militia speak on occasion. I would say that their hearts are in the right place in terms of freedom and Second Amendment rights, but they would be largely ineffective in a major emergency due to internal leadership friction – too many chiefs and not enough Indians – and the generally out-of-shape, over-the-hill nature of their memberships. Glenn does recognize this problem in his book.

Others here, particularly Jerry Webb, have had undercover dealings with some “militias” and report a much more sinister aspect to their activities!

I applaud Glenn for using this plot element in his novel, but I wonder if the subtleties among groups and the blanket use by the media of the term “militia” might not have been more thoroughly explored.

All in all, I found this to be an enjoyable book.



Uploaded: 7/30/2008