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Reviewed by Sandy Masia for Readers' Favorite
Where the Campaign Ends tells the story of Ryan WiIliams, a veteran political consultant, who had to find a way to accept some unwanted and unpleasant changes to his health and their implications. Changes that demand he forego the high pressure, thrilling world of politics which he thrives on, and settle on a more slow paced lifestyle. Ryan is optimized to work and live in the world of politics; it is all he has known and it is who he is. Changing his lifestyle requires a total reworking of who he is, what he wants and where he sees himself going. It means abandoning cherished dreams for utter uncertainty. It is this difficult transition and the new life he has to build that form the crux of Where the Campaign Ends by J.P. Dalton.
Where The Campaign Ends is a realistic romance and literary novel. J.P. Dalton has an exceptional ability of grounding his work in such a way that the reader could easily forget it is a work of fiction. Some of that has to do with the veracity of the details in his prose when referring to real places and his ability to seamlessly weave that in with fictional creations of his own. The characters are rich enough without veering far off the mean, and idiosyncratic enough to avoid being stereotypical. Moreover, you feel like they are people with entire histories. Even though they don’t tell you what their story is at first, you can sense it from their presence. It’s a mark of good story telling to be able to achieve this.
J.P. Dalton provides the reader with a journey to take and the reader is aptly rewarded for taking the journey; from the setting to the characters, the plot and the conclusion. There isn’t a moment in Where the Campaign Ends that I felt was wasted, or insufficient or weak. Each moment fitted and served its purpose as well as intention. Where the Campaign Ends matures with each page, revealing depth, range and heart. It’s a very commendable debut.