Cover Image: 42 Million to One

42 Million to One

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Member Reviews

Interesting but not thrilling. Given the current political climate, this just didn't seem all that engaging compared to real life.
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Hal Malchow’s 42 million to one is a political thriller revolving around the elections and voting machines or the hackability of these machines.

Lucy Gilmore is a rookie journalist with The Post, and she stumbles upon the case of manipulation of election results through tampering the devices. As she uncovers more data from 2004 to 2016, she gets confident there is more to the elections than just pressing the button for the right candidate.

Timed around the US election, the book discusses and gives pointers about the vulnerabilities of voting machines.
The main characters narrate the story, and the chapters are named after each of them. It intersperses these with narration from the news channels such as CNN or NBC.

Four people from four unique background narrate their stories. Lucy Gilmore is a journalist. Max Parker works as a campaign manager for democratic parties. Sheldon Klumm, a techie who works with the voting machine company Election Day Inc. Nadia Fedorov, a woman with ulterior motives. Towards the end, more characters narrate their side, but these four stays in the limelight.

Lucy looks into the election as her uncle Vince loses an election projected as his winning election.

Wrapping facts with fictional characters and setting, making it thrilling. The book gives a lot of insight into the election process and the malpractices around the voting machines. The author has also projected his ideologies that can be adapted by the governing bodies and people of influence.

Jeffrey Scott is an ideal candidate. Scott’s character is the leader needed in today’s world. His thought process is flawless in a world that is dominated by power and money.

The book well -researched, and the author provided links at the book for the authenticity of the book’s subject.

The ending of the book is well maneuvered, but it took time to reach. The book dragged for some time towards the end. It could have been a book that merged fact with fiction to give an astounding thriller. But somewhere in between that concept was lost.

Overall, 42 million to one is an exciting political thriller with thought-provoking concepts on our democracy and politics.

My rating for the book is 3.5 stars
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42 Million to One is a work of fiction that is based on a true event (a specific election result that was significantly different than the exit polls), and includes many other details that also are true (McConnell's refusal to pass election security legislation, Russian interference, etc). I don't know that I would call it a "thriller", but it was an intriguing premise and gave me real food for thought- especially as I read the majority of this book while working the polls on election day, 2020. 

The writing is quirky. The story is told from the viewpoints of several (eight-ish?) main characters, Each section has a heading with its narrator and it never feels confusing, but some sections (particularly toward the end) started to have a "Dear Diary" feel. The author could also have added some dates to help with clarity of the timeline. I sometimes was surprised to realize that months had passed in just a couple of pages. 

Bottom line? Interesting premise, strong storyline, could use a little more polish. 

I received an ARC from #NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. My thanks to author Hal Malchow and publisher Mindbuck Media for the opportunity.
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This book is an extremely poignant read as we encroach on what is likely to be an extremely messy U.S. Presidential election. While fictive, it is well-researched and includes accurate data from recent U.S. elections and a pointed summary of some of the more contested Presidential elections in recent U.S. history. A full five stars for topic, timeliness, and research into the glaring flaws that U.S. voters have tolerated in their elections for decades. The first third of this book outlines the argument through the meticulous work of an investigative journalist, and it's compelling.

The plot however, I found to be bland, cliche, and often boring. One star. You have an overweight computer programming nerd with a video game obsession who never gets laid and has no interest in politics whatsoever, but happens to program voting machines. He gets seduced by an eastern European woman (the most beautiful woman he could ever imagine) who talks him into fixing the election in her client's favor --she's just in it for the money. Her client, after extensive sourcing, turns out to be DR Congo, who is supporting the Democrat to protect their lucrative coltan mining. Only problem is that the programmer's boss has already asked him to fix it for the Republican. Then there is a Washington Post reporter who is digging around trying to prove that voting machines are being hacked.

This basic plot was submerged in moralistic politics that preached compromise without even getting close to why either party is so staunchly set in their values. I appreciated the single issue scoping to make the character development of Jeffrey Scott, the presidential candidate, clear, but of all the issues that could have been chosen, social security funding seemed an unfortunate choice. The two perspectives that required compromise were, on the Republican side, wanting people to have the freedom to invest their entitlement account in the stock market instead of U.S. Treasury bonds, and on the Democratic side, wanting to raise the social security wage base (and neither party wanting to raise the retirement age). So Scott does allow for the individual accounts and allowing citizens to elect to invest their entitlement in the market (which is a complete shift from the current defined benefit program that he doesn't even get into), and he then proposes a structure where people get more money based on when they retire (which we already do). Just would have liked to see a better issue or at least a better policy solution.

A little moralizing is fine, but the monologue at the end where Scott blames the American voter for not voting out corrupt politicians falls *completely* flat at the end of a novel about how votes are manipulated routinely to sway election results, with multiple asides about the influence of the Russians and big money/super PACs in marketing. While there are some points about congressmen not passing the Election Security Act and some cautionary notes about how this strategy could only be used to sway close elections, the overall message is that votes can't be trusted. But at least I appreciate that he doesn't advocate throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Honestly, this is a book that reads like it's nonfiction packaged up for a broader audience to get the word out. And while I respect that, the execution is off. I would skip this novel, but sure would be interested in reading this guy's blog. Much thanks to NetGalley and Mindbuck Media for the eARC.
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Politics is known to have some strange bedfellows. This book has some insights into what goes on behind-the-scenes. The reader gets different perspectives of the happenings.

I enjoyed the story overall. The character I enjoyed most was the one who got caught up in the middle of events that he didn't even know were going on. 

I appreciate NetGalley and Double M Publishing/Mindbuck Media providing me with an opportunity to read a galley copy of this book.
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