Review “Black Swan Rising” by Lisa Brackmann


By Lisa Brackmann

Echoing recent headlines, Ms. Brackmann’s latest novel explores the modern world of politics, news and social media, and the rise of violent hate groups in a fast-moving adventure that keeps you guessing throughout.

Casey Cheng is an ambitious on-air reporter for a local station in San Diego. After she is shot, while covering Congressman Matt Cason’s campaign rally, she takes advantage of her hard-won fifteen minutes of fame. While still technically on limited duty, and still suffering from physical and psychological damage, she convinces her producer to let her pursue the story of the Free Men. It was a member of that shadowy group who shot Casey, and she wants to understand why their members express such hatred for women.

Sarah Price, twenty-something and secretive about her past, works on Cason’s congressional reelection campaign as a social media expert. Matt Cason is an attractive, charismatic politician. Is it any wonder that Sarah would be flattered by his attention? Lindsey Cason, the candidate’s wife and principal campaign strategist, is neither amused nor surprised.

There is an aspect common to Brackmann’s writing; she doesn’t sugarcoat the results of violence. Casey deals with sharp, lingering pain from damaged nerves, a desire to combat the pain with opiates and wine, and self-doubt about her motive in pursuing the story. The author has a deft touch in conveying Casey’s internal struggles.

This novel’s viewpoint puts us squarely in the action from the very beginning, and the novel continues at a quick pace. Brackmann’s descriptions of behind the scene activity at both the Cason campaign office and a local television news station rings with verisimilitude, which is not an easy task.

“Black Swan Rising” reflects the turbulent times of today and, in so doing, provides an entertaining and thought-provoking tale.

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