Blog Tour ♦ Review & Giveaway ♦ Toxin ♦ Paul Martin Midden

About the Book

Jake Telemark, a junior senator from Wisconsin, enjoys his position as a moderate, common-sense legislator in Washington, D.C.—until the phone call that changes his life forever. Isadore Hathaway, daughter of the late Frank Hathaway, a renowned senatorial powerhouse, demands to see Jake immediately. During a mysterious meeting with Isadore, Jake learns an uncomfortable truth:  a group of fanatical right-wing evangelicals, who call themselves The Bookkeepers, are planning to destroy the US democracy. 

Shocked by Isadore’s revelation, but initially unwilling to get involved in something he can scarcely believe, Jake soon learns why Isadore Hathaway singled him out for this clandestine meeting: she’d  uncovered a part of Jake’s past that he’d fought to keep hidden, not just by law, but by of the demands of his sanity.  Isadore’s plea is both startling and matter-of-fact:  she wants Jake to kill the men involved in this sinister plot—because if Jake doesn’t kill them, they will kill him.

When parts of Isadore’s scenario begin to come true, Jake becomes ensnared in a dangerous and deadly plot. With the country at risk and freedom hanging in the balance, Jake is thrust into excruciating circumstances. Forced to confront the demons of his past, and the demons that threaten the future of the country he serves, Jake inconveniently falls in love with Isadore.  As this burgeoning relationship plays out against the backdrop of the most tumultuous time in US history, Jake Telemark must wage an intense tug-of-war between his promise to never harm another human being, and his duty to the country, and woman, he loves.

A gripping first person novel that reads like non-fiction, Toxin is briskly-paced and filled with urgency. Part provocative political thriller, part powerful psychological narrative, Toxin delivers a terrifyingly-real storyline that deftly blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Novelist Paul Martin Midden displays remarkable dexterity in  his extraordinary character development, exquisite understanding of the texture and complexity of human relationships, and ability to keep the pages turning in this powerful thriller.

Book Title: Toxin Genre: Suspense / Mystery Fiction
Author: Paul Martin Midden Type: Trade Paperback 338 Pages
Publisher: Millennial Mind Publishing Publication Date: July 2009

Many thanks to everyone at Omnimystery for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.

My Thoughts  

Toxin is a suspense-thriller that deals with government, politics, secret organizations, conspiracies and terrorism. This is not the type of book I read very often, as I am not familiar with the genre. After reading the synopsis I became very interested in it, because of the narrative and a main character who seemed much more complex than most I’ve encountered before. I was extremely glad that I ventured into this unfamiliar territory. From the moment I began turning the first few pages, I knew that I had found a solid, enjoyable story.

This is a story that could be perfectly translated into a film, because Jake Telemark is a character that would pack the seats in any theatre. Told from the first person perspective, Jake’s narration really brings his persona to life. Along with telling a story, Toxin also makes Jake seem like a real person. The reader experiences the action, mystery and secrets he encounters, but added to that is his doubts, feelings, worries and skepticism. Jake Telemark may be a US Senator now, but his past participation in a classified organization has scarred him psychologically, which brings with it the doubts and paranoia about what may be happening to the world. When Jake is contacted by Dora and asked to basically help save the world, not only does he have to consider what’s possible or improbable, he also has to figure out if his mind is strong enough to take on this task. Throw in his attraction to Dora into the equation and Jake needs to seriously consider whether it is only his male response to her that is driving him to believe her and her wild accusations.

I wondered if I would really commit myself to Dora’s plan even though I had been so clear on the phone about it. My statement to her was contingent but unequivocal. I had essentially committed myself to something I had vowed I would never do again. It was too outrageous to even contemplate deliberately, but I had to keep my mind focused on the fact that she was talking about killing. I am banking on her sordid explanation of events turning out to be hyped nonsense, no matter how compelling the immediate evidence. But the truth is in my guts I was torn. My esteemed surface life or a life of danger, intrigue, and possibility prison or death. It felt like lunacy to even contemplate it, but that is precisely what I was doing.

I also have to allow for the possibility that I was susceptible to getting caught up in a web of coincidence and paranoid thinking about things that might not be so serious at all. I reminded myself that my interest in Dora had more to do with her being a woman than her spearheading seditious activity to save the country. I did not really think I would surrender my objectivity so easily to my baser desires, but I had to allow for that possibility.

The above quote is taken from a chapter fairly early in the story and I think it presents very clearly how well the narrative style works for this novel. It’s also a good example of how Jake’s personality comes across so strongly, with a natural ease. His character is such a realistic one, he doesn’t pretend to be the all-out, action hero, instead the reader is witness to his very human thoughts as he tries to figure out exactly what he may be capable of.

Jake Telemark was basically enough of a positive that even a bad story-line would have been enjoyable, but Toxin comes through plot wise as well. This is a story with a lot going on, and again this book benefits from the first person narrative here also. Hearing the story told this way the reader gets to follow along as Jake uncovers the mystery. What may seem from the synopsis to be a crazy dream from a conspiracy theorists, becomes more and more believable as Jake gains new information. Until at the end the reader begins to question whether something like this could really happen in our own world.

Toxin was a completely enjoyable, suspense-filled read that I would highly recommend to any fans of political intrigue. I’d definitely suggest it to readers who enjoy W.E.B. Griffins’ Presidential Agent series, or the Mitch Rapp novels by Vince Flynn.

About The Author

Paul Martin Midden is a psychologist who currently serves as Clinical Director of a nationally-recognized treatment center. Midden’s debut novel, Absolution, was released to great critical acclaim in 2007. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Enter To Win A Copy Of Toxin

Paul Martin Midden is giving away a signed copy of his book, Toxin, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to his book tour page,, enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 3601, for your chance to win. Entries from The Book Zombie will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on their book tour page next week.

One entry per person or e-mail address per referral site. Respective referral site PINs are valid for 36 hours beginning at 12:01 AM ET on each date of the tour. No purchase is required to enter or to win. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States, excluding Puerto Rico, who are 18 years of age or older.

Other Tour Stops

July 21 Wendy's Minding Spot: Author Interview The Book Zombie: Book Review
July 22 Mystery Reader Discussion: Author Guest Post Wendi's Book Corner: Book Review
July 23 Bookish Ruth: Author Guest Post Allie's Musings: Author Interview
July 24 Jen's Book Thoughts: Author Guest Post Cafe of Dreams: Book Review
July 25 Petit Fours and Hot Tamales: Book Review Chick with Books: Author Interview

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Beth F said...

Sounds exciting! Please don't enter me in the giveaway. Political thrillers always sound more interesting to me than they really are -- just not a good match for me.

misterreereeder said...

Thought you had a good review. The protadonist is definitely an interesting character. The author's background obviously played a part in revealing this character.

itsamystery said...

You've convinced me! On initial look I probably would not have picked up this book either, but now I'm hoping I win the giveaway - and if I don't, I might just have to go pick it up anyway!

Veens said...

:) Sounds good! I have never read this kind og a thriller!
don't enter me :)

Debi said...

Great review! I used to read political thrillers from time to time, but haven't read any in while. This does sound like a good one. Not sure if I'll ever get around to reading it myself, but I do think I'll be buying it for my brother. Thanks--he's a pain a pain in the backside to buy for. ;)

Zibilee said...

I don't read many books in this genre, but it sounds like a very intriguing premise. I think my husband would enjoy it as well, so I might grab a copy for a read-aloud. Thanks!

Becky said...

I just had a similar experience. Stumbled across a political thriller titled, "Three Kisses" by Heath Daniels. Haven't ever been into this genre either. Decided to give it a try and absolutely loved it- very well researched and very believable. I would love to give another one a try.