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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Knight Riders quiz team headed by Mike Knight often tastes victory in small pubs like The Angry Scarecrow. The only way left for Mike and his team is to go for the big leagues. In Questionable Friends, Elliot Stanton offers a portrait of a close-knit friendship drawn by the allure of prestige through a televised battle of the brains. As Mike and his teammates make it onto national television, pitting their intelligence against worthy adversaries, he and each of his teammates have something to say about how much they know—the by-product of greed when huge prize money is on the line. Throw in the events in their personal lives that further complicate their friendship, and we have a brilliant social observation that is not a common theme in fiction.
Elliot Stanton is a keen observer of interactions. The nature of exploitative chat and arguments maximize the potential for the novel’s tension. In Questionable Friends, friendship is tested under the pressure of greed. Stanton approaches the story using Mike’s angle, who wears his team leader privilege like a badge of confidence. “As captain of the team, I realized that I should take responsibility. I didn’t want fingers pointed at each individual by whoever was left out,” he tells one of his teammates. Even more fascinating and intriguing is the ingenuity with which every team member develops over the course of the story. This novel does not fall short of wit in making its points and confirms Mr. Stanton as an astute observer of competition and ethos.