Edge of Apocalypse: pages 259-261 (Chapter Forty-Five)
When we last left Joshua Jordan, our brave hero had decided “Looks like it’s time to take a calculated risk”.
Next section of the chapter, we are now with him in the private dining room of the hotel. We won’t consider how he might have moved about without being at least taped by the security cameras, and just follow along.
Ten minutes later Joshua was seated in a private room off the main dining room, behind polished mahogany doors that had been closed, eating dinner across the table from an attractive middle-aged woman.
This woman would be the “Patriot’s Wife” mentioned in the note. Why, though, not be meeting with the “Patriot” guy himself? A nunber of unkind thoughts about the nature of the gender roles LaHaye and Parshall might be employing present themselves, but withholding judgement would be best for now, since there is another equally valid reason below that I mention.
Joshua took another bite of his filet mignon. He had noticed that his host was fashionably dressed. Though Abby would have recognized even more, like the exclusive Vera Wang dress, and the carat weight of the diamond studs in her ears–likely two carats each.
The narrative style seems a little odd here. Usually Parshall sticks well to the third person limited point of view, in which we know only the perspective character’s emotions and thoughts, and not all characters’ emotions and thoughts. So for the narrator to effectively become omniscient here, is a little strange.
I think it’s because of the “good person = trappings of wealth and/or patriotism” motif in this book, since FBI Agent John Gallagher isn’t wealthy by any means, but has his patriotic credentials more than amply established in the first chapter that introduces him. Similarly, Josh and Abby get nice digs, lovely clothes, and of course, Allfones. So presenting the woman’s refined, exclusive taste may be a callback to this motif.
“Sorry to be so secretive,” the woman said. “But I know you’re currently undercover, Mr. Jordan. First, let me tell you how much my husband and I appreciate you.”
The “secretiveness” these people employ sounds more like a rather amateurishly conceptualized version thereof. Haven’t LaHaye and Parshall seen enough movies to know that the derring-do of spy thriller movies almost always ends up mandating a clandestine meeting at some out of the way pond, or whatever? Hell, consider John Grisham’s later books. His characters have clandestine meetings in clothing stores, back alleys, cheap hotels, you name it. Anything but a ritzy place for which some private dinner would have had to have been arranged in advance with the maitre d’.
Anyway, she goes on to say she can’t reveal her or her husband’s name (that said I’m starting to guess that were her husband to show up, Josh would know who he is immediately), and that he’s on the ‘right track’:
[Joshua said,] “Which track would that be?”
“Your distrust of Senator Straworth. And perhaps a few other members, or their staff, on the special committee investigating the North Korean missile crisis. My husband also agrees with your decision not to give them the RTS design information. Some members of that committee cannot be trusted.”
The conversation meanders a little, then they get back to the whole “Hey-you’re-in-danger-Josh” thing:
[The woman said,] “You’re in danger.”
[Joshua said,] “That’s not very specific.”
“I realize that. Let’s just say that I’m not talking about the things you’re already aware of. Like the crazies out there who don’t understand the reasons for what you did. Or the Capitol Hill political bunch that wants to bury you. None of that.”
“We have the distinct sense, from multiple sources, that you are at substantial risk from foreign actors.”
Dun-dun-DUN. Of course, Josh foreshadowed this when Parshall rather clumsily had him speechify near the end of his Congressional testimony, and we the readers know Atta Zimler, backed by Caesar Demas, is after the technology. This is Josh basically being brought up to speed with us folks.
“Nothing yet. I just want you to know we are out there. And if you are willing, then we can set up a meeting so you can be briefed in more detail.”
“This is all very interesting…but I still don’t know your name.”
“For now I’m just the Patriot’s Wife,” she said with a smile.
Then she reached inside her little purse, which was exquisitely decorated with white beads, and pulled something out. She laid it on the table. A white business card. All it said was The Patriot. And there was a telephone number.
Clandestine future contacts! Presumably, through the super-duper encrypted Allfone and inside his fancy Colorado mansion instead of a sensible place like any number of forested places in upstate New York.
The lady does point out one thing that should lead Josh to trust “The Patriots”:
She reached out and shook his hand. Then before turning to leave, she said one more thing to Joshua. “Perhaps you can reflect on two things. First, we were able to locate you here, even though you took precautions to hide from the federal authorities. The U.S. marshals haven’t been able to find you so far. But we did [… and] haven’t reported you.”
That having been said, Josh Jordan hasn’t really hidden himself very well. Now it’s early times yet, but the feds and US marshals, if they had any notion of how Josh likes to live, would be fanning out over the major hotels in New York, asking if anyone’s seen the Hero of New York and showing around pictures to refresh anyone’s memory. And for a guy who’s gotten some major press over it, I’m surprised nobody’s recognized him yet, striding about the hallways of that fancy-ass hotel.
So you could almost argue that “The Patriots” know Josh likes to live well, and simply chose the path of least resistance in checking up on which hotels had a sudden room booking for one of their fancy rooms for which the registrant paid in a manner designed to obscure from whose pocket the money originally came.
In that vein, this book could have been about Josh, so puffed up by his own ego that he gets easily rooked by a group of people who manipulate him through his patriotism into giving up the very thing he promised he’d keep VERY SECRET. Alas, that won’t happen, but it’s interesting to see how a much better political/spy thriller could have been made from the basic ingredients of this book, and in the process truly exploring how human flaws can end up blinding people to truths about themselves and about others, and could provide a much more realistic “Christian conversion” story than anything we’ve seen so far.
The next chapter is a real hop-skip-and-a-jump set of sections, so I’ll probably tackle it in a series of quick writeups through this week. First up, we’ll be meeting with the people at World Teleco who wouldn’t want to see AmeriNews get going as a competitor to their own media empire, being tipped off by Allen Fulsin. See you next time. 🙂