Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
328 Pages
Reviewed on 01/31/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy by J.T. Lundy is a witty, satiric cautionary tale about a ‘James Bond wannabe’ U.S. Customs Officer named Chris Thompson, who is summoned from his mundane job by the President of the United States to serve as a special agent during a state of emergency. Apparently, Mexico and Canada are invading the U.S. with the alleged help of the President’s Chief of Staff, in concert with a clandestine McCarthyesque movement determined to scuttle democracy as we know it, thereby righting unspeakable and innumerable evils born of foreign infiltration. The principal characters in this delightful farce - Thompson, his ever-complaining wife, the President, his Chief of Staff and a host of other two-dimensional denizens of J.T. Lundy’s dystopian world - display a spot-on, collective quirky shallowness worthy of Moliére. Both the dialogue and the action are fast-paced, full of reversals and zingers, and sure to please even the most discriminating, jaded readers of political satire.

One of the most delightful aspects of this crazy ride is that the key players seem to be winking at us from the pages, keenly aware of their own incompetence. Early in the game, a chemically compromised President Wright, refusing to relinquish Las Vegas to invaders from Mexico, reveals his misplaced priorities when he declares: “The showgirls at the Flamingo and the buffet at the Bellagio are the only things that keep me going sometimes.” Later, Chris Thompson displays his darkly comic meta-cognitive flair by revealing (after being arrested by campus cops for agitating at a college protest): “We don’t stand a chance. I’m an amateur relying on James Bond movies for inspiration and tactics.” The entire text is peppered with inane Joseph McCarthy quotes (to begin most chapters) and sidesplitting, deadpan neo-Shakespeare asides. This raucous romp truly has something for everyone. At 189 pages, it is also a brisk and entertaining read - perfect bedside fare.

J.T. Lundy’s Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy is a delectable confection of political satire with a healthy dose of prescient real-time insight - a must-read for those who have rationalized the rampant xenophobia that daily threatens to extinguish the American Dream.

Julia Hopkinson

In Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy, J.T. Lundy has created a marvellously original political satire and comic conspiracy thriller. In the book, United States Customs Service Agent, Chris Thompson, finds his routine life turned upside down when the President and Commander in Chief pull him from his apple pie-outsourcing day job to recruit him for a secret mission, on the strength of his long-forgotten, botched CIA application essay. With his head full of potential 007-like adventures, glamorous espionage-related excitement, and martinis shaken not stirred, Chris eagerly charges headlong into a dystopian version of modern day America, with intriguing twists, underground bunkers, murky and mysterious characters, one or two strippers, and the over-arching threat of how the government plans to deal with any alleged ‘un-American activities.'

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy. It is a smoothly written tale, rattles along at a rip-roaring pace, and contains many laugh-out-loud funny moments. It is also intelligent and thought-provoking, recreating the fears of the Cold War, and drawing unnerving parallels with more modern phenomena. Chris Thompson is a very effective and credible ‘Everyman’ hero - the ordinary Joe pushed to very extraordinary lengths - and he finds himself surrounded by a range of believable, and both scary and humorous characters. The entire novel is an impressive combination of Hitchcockian suspense, Dr Strangelove-esque insanity, and the satirical worlds of Carl Hiaassen and Christopher Brookmyre. J.T. Lundy’s book is a brilliant five-star read, and I look forward to more!

Carol Thompson

Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy by J.T. Lundy is political satire at its finest. Lundy writes with such wit and humor that even if the story was boring it would be good. But the story is far from boring. Chris Thompson thought his youthful dreams of being a secret agent had long been put to rest. He has a wife and child, a stable job with the US Customs Department, and - aside from a minor incident involving outsourcing American apple pie production to Bangladesh — no real worries. This all changes when Chris receives a phone call from the president of the United States, Oscar I. Wright, regarding a secret invasion of America from Canada and Mexico. This invasion is somehow tied to the “Big Mac Party,” a cultish political party that worships the legacy of the notorious Communist-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy. Soon, Chris is equipped with firearms, designer suits, government helicopters, and an array of gadgets worthy of any top-notch spy. His mission: infiltrate the mysterious “Emergence” program founded by McCarthy within the shadowy halls of the US government and, ultimately, save democracy as we know it from the xenophobic demons of America’s past.

Lundy's Chris Thompson is a well-developed character who is so likable you'll want to invite him to dinner. Lundy writes with such finesse and humor that I couldn't help but laugh out loud. The dialogue exchanges are hysterical. What's that? Microfiche. Little fish? And on and on until you're rolling on the floor. The plot is fast-paced and the McCarthyism undertones brought me back to my American History class in a good way. The great thing about this book is that you don't need to be a history buff to enjoy it. It's sheer entertainment, whether you like history or not. I highly recommend Lundy's book to anyone who is looking for a humorous novel that delivers what it promises. I would give it 10 stars if I could.

Bil Howard

The crazy things the government comes up with are not as surprising in fiction as they are in reality, but J.T. Lundy has come up with something that will rival even the craziest thing the government can dish up in Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy. When customs agent Chris Thompson receives a call from the chief-of-staff of the president of the United States, he figures that he must be in trouble for something that he did involving Bangladesh and apple pie production. What he discovers instead is that he has been chosen to be a liaison to a mysterious project called “Emergence,” a program founded by Senator Joseph McCarthy and it is a cover operation of the “Big Mac Party.” Having always wanted to be a type of 007 secret agent, Chris is excited about the opportunity until the action really starts. As he is thrust into a zany mystery which eventually exposes what is actually going on in area 22, Chris is in a race to get the information he has discovered to the president before it falls into anyone else’s hands.

Crazy, lighthearted humor runs throughout what would otherwise be a spy thriller in Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy. This is an excellent parody which has a good plot and story line while still delivering on the promised humor. The characters that are intertwined throughout are an excellent blend of a serious spy thriller and an outrageous comedy. Zany, suspenseful and creative, Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy will have you laughing, but also wondering if there are crazy projects like this one actually in existence in the U.S. government.

Faridah Nassozi

In Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy by J.T. Lundy, Chris Thompson has always wanted to be a government spy but he has accepted fate and settled for his desk job at the United States Customs Office; that is until he receives a completely unexpected call from the White House. Within no time, he is standing in front of the President and his Chief-of-staff. He is given instructions, new clothes and a weapon, and sent on a secret mission as the President's spy. The mission leads him to a secret bunker, 1000 feet underground, which turns out to be a torture chamber for hire. Chris discovers a high-level conspiracy to destroy the President and take over power. Chris is now struggling to put an end to a conspiracy orchestrated by people who are high up in the government, and also save his marriage.

Imagine a fast-paced movie about a high level, off-the-books operation, CIA black-ops style; only this time the President is a man half out of his mind and the spy sent in to save the day is a man with a desk job, so most the time he has no idea what he is doing. He is trying to save the presidency while at the same time ensuring that his marriage does not come to an end because of a series of misunderstandings. J.T. Lundy strikes the right balance between humor, action, and drama to deliver a comical, dramatic, action-packed and adrenaline-pumping story. Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy is a true page-turner.