The Reparations Will Be Emailed
The PACMAN Plan:
The Story of a Struggle for Reparations
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By Sam A. Kempt
Format: Paperback, 320pp
Pub. Date: April 2004
Publisher: De Viv Publishing
Reviewed by Tiffany Davis
The PACMAN plan is an ambitious debut by Sam A. Kempt. Set in the smoldering background of Austin, Texas, this book takes an eye-opening look at race, religion, the Internet and the voting process in America, and their collective impact on the political process.
Mark Farmer was surfing the Internet when he stumbled across a page that outlined a grassroots effort to end the control of political action committees, or PACs, and their soft money on the American political system. In his excitement he forwards the email to a group of friends and associates who may be interested. The email reaches Reverend Solomon Williams, Jr., an ethical man of the cloth who will find his faith tested when he tries to buck the political status quo of his church. The email reaches far into the political system and finds both Mark and Reverend Williams themselves caught up in a game with higher stakes than either of them imagined, a game that is controlled behind prison gates by Joe Louis Brown, a forgotten revolutionary who has not forgotten the revolution. As Mark and Reverend Williams become unwitting pawns to a system that is resistant to change, their lives become intertwined with that of Brown and all three men will not be the same at the culmination of The PACMAN Plan.
This novel brings a refreshing and informative look at how the political process in America has been slowly eroded by the formation of special interest groups and the influence of soft money. It is obvious that the author did his homework and managed to weave that knowledge into a suspenseful tale. The pacing of the novel is overall steady, although there are some slow spots that this reviewer encourages readers to push through. The character of Reverend Williams, Jr. has shades of Martin Luther King, Jr. and comes off at times as a bit na’ve, but the author does a decent job of showing the many layers of operation that are required of a person of the cloth.
The emphasis in the beginning of the interracial marriage between Mark Farmer and his wife Donna is not realized until the latter part of the book; this reviewer would have liked for the importance of this subplot to have been apparent earlier in the book. In fact, the author comes on a bit heavy-handed with regard to race relations. At times some of the characters seem clich’d and serve only as a foil of polarization, especially since the book is set in Texas. The author could have done a better job of subtly making his points regarding race relations, which would have had a greater impact on the plot. The ending seems to be a bit anticlimactic and too neat, as if the author were in a hurry to finish the book. However, there is enough suspense in the body of the book to satisfy readers.