Kirkus Lauds ‘First-Rate Action Narrative’ in Adam Bender’s The Wanderer and the New West

The venerable Kirkus Reviews acclaimed The Wanderer and the New West as a “tight, thoughtful work” with “first-rate action narrative” in a starred review of my new novel (paperback available here).

The Kirkus Star is reserved for “books of exceptional merit,” so this is a big honor! The star also means my book will be considered for the Kirkus 2018 prize.

Here’s an excerpt from Kirkus Reviews:

The author’s new novel might be summed up by a line from Rosa’s editorial: “Sometimes it feels like America is spinning in an opposite direction from the planet Earth.” As real-life America spins out of alignment with other nations’ gun-control laws, he critiques its obsession with the Second Amendment and shows how it could threaten to shred the nation’s true founding principles. For example, a mayor replies to a sheriff’s complaints of lawlessness with “the government hasn’t made laws for years!” Ironically, Bender packages his message in a first-rate action narrative, filled with the sort of violence that has attracted gun lovers to pop-culture icons like Rambo and Dirty Harry for decades. In one cinematic scene, for instance, a gang member meets his end when “thunder cracked, and blood burst out the back of his skull.” Such indulgent moments of machismo are balanced by superior characterization, particularly of the Wanderer’s sidekick, Kid Hunter, and 12-year-old bandit Lindsay. The fact that the Wanderer still wears his wedding band and is haunted by the ghost of a woman named Helen connects to a complex, satisfying origin story that includes Breck Ammunition itself. Throughout, Bender proves to be an instructive novelist, challenging American readers with basic scenarios that could very well come to pass: “when you leave the house, you’re checking for your wallet, your keys, your phone, and your gun. Like these are equally essential things for the day ahead.”

A tight, thoughtful work that has much to offer readers on both sides of the gun control debate.

Kirkus previously raved about my first two novels, We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. However, The Wanderer is my first book to earn the coveted Kirkus Star.

But I really want to know what you think! So, to celebrate the Kirkus review and five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite critics, I’ve decided to let loose the Wanderer a little early!

You can order the paperback right now on Amazon. You can also get the eBook edition (EPUB) from Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Scribd and Smashwords. A Kindle version will be available in a few days.

When you’re finished, please leave your own review at the store where you purchased the book and on Goodreads. Thanks for your support!

 

The Wanderer is dead-on for 5 Stars at Readers’ Favorite

The Wanderer and the New West by Adam Bender

Ahead of the 2018 release of The Wanderer and the New West, I’m excited to announce my new novel has scored five-star reviews from five reviewers on the website Readers’ Favorite!

Here are some excerpts about the Dystopian Western:

“A dystopian view of an America that many may well see as a path the country is already headed down … I couldn’t put this book down and read it quickly and easily.” — Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“The setting is absorbing, pulling in the reader like a captivating movie, and I couldn’t help getting the same feeling I get when I watch the series ‘Arrow.’ It won’t be surprising if this story ends up on screen.” — Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“The action is continuous and horrific … revealing vistas of the future and especially the dangerous paths poor and greed based politics are forcing mankind to follow.” — Deepak Menon for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“Brutally honest and scarily real, The Wanderer and the New West is a brilliant novel. Raw and gritty, this novel lays down the bare truth without sugar coating anything.” — Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

“Bender creates vivid characters in the plot that will resonate with any reader … The author helped me visualize the impact of lawlessness on the media, technology and any nation as a whole.” — Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)

The cover for The Wanderer and the New West
The Wanderer and the New West — Words by Adam Bender. Cover by Ben McLeod.

I’m thrilled to see early reviewers connecting with my new novel, and look forward to hearing what you think! Stay tuned to this blog and subscribe to my newsletter for updates on the novel’s release. You can also pre-order the eBook version now at Amazon and other online retailers.

Happy New Year!

The Wanderer’s Cover Revealed! Gunning for Unlawful Readers in February 2018

The Wanderer is coming to bring New West justice to a town near you! My trigger finger has been itchin’ to get this fine dystopian-western novel into readers’ hands. Well, that time’s almost here, and I have the first evidence!

Allow me to present a staggering shot to the senses, the cover for The Wanderer and the New West by artist Ben Mcleod!

The cover for The Wanderer and the New West
The Wanderer and the New West — Cover by Ben McLeod.

This ain’t your grandfather’s Western. With elected leaders rushing to loosen laws and get more guns into Americans’ hands, this adventure need not take place in the past because the Wild West is coming back! In the way that We, The Watched and Divided We Fall analyzed the real issue of government surveillance, The Wanderer and the New West takes on gun culture in the United States and where things could be heading.

But enough of my peddling! When can you read it?

The Wanderer and the New West will be released February 4, 2018 in paperback and eBook editions.

But wait! You can pre-order the digital eBook version today on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and more fine online retail establishments! Keep your eyes peeled for more information soon on how you can order the hard copy.

Meet Ben Mcleod, cover artist for The Wanderer and the New West

My next novel — The Wanderer and the New West — is getting closer to publication! A key part of that process is designing a cover, and I’m thrilled to announce illustrator Ben Mcleod will be taking on this important job.

Hailing from Manchester, Ben has created art for an array of cool clients like Disney and 20th Century Fox, working on such popular franchises as Star Wars and X-Men! Check out some of his recent work below and on his Tumblr blog.

I’ve seen some of Ben’s ideas for The Wanderer and am thrilled with the direction. Can’t wait to share the cover with you when it’s complete!

The Time Machine
Credit: Ben Mcleod
Star Wars
Credit: Ben Mcleod
Big Hero 6
Credit: Ben Mcleod
1984 by George Orwell
Credit: Ben Mcleod

Journalists are worried about trust… and 4 other big takeaways from ONA 17

Just got back from the Online News Association 2017 conference in Washington, DC!

From fake news possibly influencing the election to elected leaders referring to real journalism as fake news, trust in news could be at an all-time low in the United States. As someone who cares about reporting truth with fairness and balance, I’m deeply worried about the future of journalism. Based on what I heard at this year’s ONA, I’m not the only one.

Here are some of my takeaways from the conference about how to restore trust in this critical institution:

  1. Journalists should spend quality time in local communities.

    Asma Khalid (WBUR) made a strong argument against “parachuting” into towns and neighborhoods to get the story. It’s important to be present and listen, she said. Not only will sources appreciate it, but it just might change their opinion about reporters.

  2. Newsrooms should be as diverse as America.

    Journalists are supposed to ask questions on behalf of the nation, but according to Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times Magazine, an industry dominated by white men can’t represent all of the people. News companies must consider this as they make hiring decisions, she said.

  3. Be open about where you’re coming from.

    That’s from Rob Wijnberg, editor in chief of De Correspondent. Transparency about the writer behind the story makes for more honest journalism, he said. PBS Public Editor Madhulika Sikka said it’s impossible for reporters to be completely objective because they have to live their lives outside of work: “The point is to be fair.”

  4. Fact check with public data and citations.

    Government data and other trusted information makes it difficult for critics and politicians to dispute a story, said one panel. NPR combated one senator’s Twitter criticisms of a story by coolly tweeting the facts used in its reporting, said Mark Memmott. The senator backed down.

  5. Don’t cover everything.

    There’s something to be said for “strategic silence,” said CUNY’s Molly de Aguiar. Reporters should ask if they’re giving oxygen to a fraudulent claim, inadvertently reinforcing the disinformation, she said.

ONA Reception
Journalists let off some steam at the Newseum.