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Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite
When the Animals Vanished: A Political Satire by Douglas Faudet revolves around a hypothetical question: what would happen if all the animals, domestic and wildlife, fishes and birds disappeared overnight? The implication for humanity becomes obvious: heartache over the missing pets and a looming economic crisis due to the huge collapse of the meat industry with millions becoming unemployed all over the world. The plot then follows with a macabre turn: Stanley Smart, the owner and CEO of the largest livestock producer, wanting to save his company, comes up with the idea of replacing the vanished animal stock with human cadavers obtained from the families by voluntary donation as an alternative to cremation. He has to convince the government to approve his proposal that he builds with blood-chilling logic and economic sense. In his quest to pursue this diabolical idea, he risks everything, including the love of his life and his self-esteem.
The novel is written extremely well with clearly flowing sentences and a mercilessly logical examination of how economic self-interest can trump the most fundamental taboos of humanity. The psychology of the characters is detailed and convincing, the narrative structure is logically consistent, and the dialogue feels authentic. The matter-of-fact treatment of business decisions, despite the revulsion the reader must feel, sounds almost natural. Accepting the basic premise, I found it heartlessly logical and mercilessly inevitable. The reader gains insight into the momentous task of building a global enterprise with the involvement of all segments of society: political, economic, religious, and the advertising profession. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking story with a tongue-in-cheek commentary about the thin line between ethics and self-interest. Douglas Faudet certainly challenges the reader’s moral integrity with When the Animals Vanished.