Sleight of Eye

Fiction - Dystopia
398 Pages
Reviewed on 08/31/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Raised in Oklahoma, Elaine McCullough moved to California to teach, knocked around San Francisco for a while, then fished for crawdads and tended bar in the Sacramento River Delta before she earned her PhD in Albuquerque. After a year in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, she returned to teaching writing at a university in Michigan. Now she lives deep in the North Woods in her sprawling cabin, blogging about FunStruct Grammar, which she created to get her writing students up to speed fast on sentence structure, and writing predictive novels based on recent American politics.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a compelling story for dystopian fans everywhere. It's set in the future, but hits a little close to present-day situations in a lot of ways, making you wonder if the world is heading in the direction that McCullough describes. Heroes Sam and Ava try to help those that they can, fighting against greed, political corruption, and corporate terrorism in an America that can't be called "The United States" now, because it's been divided into zones. But they aren't comic book heroes. You'll be immersed in a future America you hope never to see, and may find yourself wondering if we aren't living in the foreshadow of it already. The author is a fantastic writer who knows how to build a world you can believe in, dialogue that crackles with life, and characters you can relate to. Her characters have quirks, strengths, and shortcomings, just like the rest of us. These elements ground you in the story and compel you to keep reading until you reach the end, because you want, or need, to know what happens.

Given today's world of Covid-19 and the ramifications, not to mention our country's division due to politics, religion, racism, and other factors, it isn't hard to imagine a dystopian society where things have fallen into chaos. The plot is well-paced, the action keeps the pages turning, and the characters in such intense situations are what really drive this story and make it shine in the midst of murky possibilities. Wolf is admirable, and the Native American themes are intriguing. McCullough's descriptions are exquisitely detailed, especially of the devastated landscape once known as America, made more poignant and chilling by the ever-present specter of the pandemic in our psyches. Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a dystopian novel for today's world.

Maureen Dangarembizi

Sleight Of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a futuristic action thriller set in 2040. Sam Wolf is a former Secret Service agent. Even though he’s left his former profession, he continues to work with a force bent on keeping law and order in a fractured United States. While returning from a mission, Sam and his partner Lenny are attacked on his family’s lands. His partner dies but Sam manages to crawl out of the grave his would-be murderers had buried him in. Driven by a burning need for vengeance, he pursues his partner’s killers. He soon finds out that Lenny’s murder is anything but a random shooting and the men he is chasing will do anything to protect their secrets.

It's been a long time since I have read about a Native American of Sam Wolf’s ilk and I’m not disappointed. Sleight Of Eye focuses on a potential future two decades after the current coronavirus pandemic. They have a new coronavirus in the future but that’s the least of their problems. Religious fanatics are everywhere and they are not Muslims. I liked that a lot because Elaine McCullough shows us that every religion has the potential to become dangerous - if not now then perhaps in the future. And Sam was the perfect hero who didn’t let what others believed stop him from doing the right thing, even at the cost of his own life. There’s also a romance tastefully done and satisfying. I enjoyed the sense of family. There is nothing like a caring community to help someone in troubled times and I saw this as a recurring theme from start to finish.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

In Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough, America has begun to recover from the nightmare that was 2020. Until the coup. In 2040, the White House has been inhabited by a theocratic president for 10 years and everything has changed. There are no real laws in the heartland; only the coastal states are surviving, fighting federal control. Sam Wolf, a former secret service agent, still fights for justice and after his best friend Lenny dies after being shot and thrown into a pit, he vows vengeance. Crossing the heartland, he heads from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the California Delta, crossing dangerous land to track the killer down, finding a spellbinding woman with bionic magic as well. Joining a maverick group of Ojibwe residents and renegade FBI agents, Wolf sets out to discover the secret of the pit, and what he finds out could have far-reaching consequences for a nation already divided.

Sleight of Eye by Elaine McCullough is a proper dystopian thriller, with plenty of action and a scary look at what the future could very well be, given current world events. It is a political thriller packed with suspense and tense, nail-biting action with thoroughly well-developed characters. The two main protagonists have real lives, real problems, and real flaws that make them likable and relatable, with in-depth stories that make them into who they are. This is a real page-turner, a fabulous plot that keeps you flipping the pages, not wanting to put the book down. With plenty of twists and turns, this book will lead you on a thrilling, sometimes terrifying journey. The real question to ask – is this just a novel or is it a warning of what the future may hold for us all? This excellent story is recommended for anyone who wants a futuristic thriller to get stuck into.