This novel, which follows small-time convicted criminal Michael O'Connor as he discovers a bizarre new system of justice after waking from a four-year coma, is an intriguing, spellbinding story that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Michael as he attempts to readjust to a strange new world.
Are You Afraid of Big Brother?
by C.J. West
When I was young I had a conversation with my father about morality and behavior. He told me that God and I see everything I do. I should act accordingly so that I don’t disappoint God or myself. This was an eye-opening conversation for me at the time. The idea that God’s watchful eye was inescapable was a little frightening. Imagine that every moment, no matter how private, is being observed. Not only that, but I also believe that God can read my innermost thoughts and some of those aren’t exactly pure. Combine this with the anxiety of knowing you are being judged by the Almighty and it is a powerful motivator to follow the straight and narrow.
The other element of this new awareness is that we form our opinion of ourselves based on a long history of deeds both good and evil. There is no escaping our self-knowledge save hypnosis, anesthesia, or amnesia. I wasn’t a troublesome kid. I did my share of stupid boy tricks, but I’m sure my behavior improved for a little while after this talk. Perspective – it’s tricky animal. Even if I was a rotten kid (which my parents assure me isn’t true) could I really picture myself that way? Would I have jumped off a bridge if I thought myself evil? Maybe. I think no matter who we are we have to see ourselves in a positive light to be able to get through our day even if our daily routine involves stealing candy from neighborhood children.
Self-knowledge and constant observation plague Michael O’Connor, the protagonist in The End of Marking Time. Michael has been a criminal since he was very young. He has stolen cars, jewelry, credit cards, cash, all manner of things. After a life financed by criminal pursuits and government handouts, Michael tries to see himself as a good guy. It makes me wonder if maybe we are a poor judge of our own character no matter who we are. If he looked at himself the way I see him, he couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Then again, if he had my perspective, he wouldn’t be who he is.
During the novel, Michael realizes he is being watched and he slowly realizes that his circumstances are being manipulated to the extent that he cannot tell where his reeducation program ends and reality begins. When I talk to people about this they cringe. Why should it be so disturbing for someone to watch us? Is what we do that different from anyone else? What are we hiding? Are we thinking evil thoughts? Doing evil deeds? Or do we just not want anyone to see us naked?
Could you live with someone watching you 24/7?
About The Author:
CJ was raised in a tiny town in Massachusetts where his family has lived for three generations. When CJ was a boy, the family had a variety of animals and boasted a poultry incubator large enough to hatch a chick for every resident of the town – all at one time. Although it was never a professional enterprise, the family continued to raise animals for many years and CJ developed a love for the outdoors and wildlife. He supports a number of environmental causes today.
CJ wrote his first book in 1979 while bored during school hours, but at that time writing was second to golf. CJ practiced hard daily and eventually entertained hopes of playing professionally. In 1985 he chose Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMASS Dartmouth) over golf and studied Business Management which advanced his career in computer technology.
Twenty years after that first book, CJ plunged back into writing. After six years studying other authors and working at his craft, CJ released Sin and Vengeance in 2005. He currently lives in suburban Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
My thanks to C.J. West for his guest blog today, and for the review copy of "The End of Marking Time." This riveting book would make a great Father's Day gift for the dad who loves adventure and thrillers!
Join C.J. for the virtual launch party for "The End of Marking Time" on June 10th at his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cjwestfans
Also check out his website at www.22wb.com for information on C.J.'s previous work.