Saturday, January 4, 2020

Class Action, by Ted Wolfe and Manuel Palomo, reviewed by Miriam van Schie

Self published, 2019, 395 pages available for $14.36 in paperback or free in Kindle edition from here.

Ted Wolfe and Manuel Palomo’s debut novel follows the lives of two young men, Mark Scherillo and Sandeep Patel, and their attempt to obtain justice for their deceased fathers, after wrongful and racially based dismissals from the large tech corporation CEMI. As the two begin their investigation into the company, they discover a shockingly similar pattern of dismissals among numerous non-white employees.

Realizing that a class action lawsuit is the only way to approach this David vs. Goliath challenge, Mark and Sandeep assemble a diverse and unique group of legal minds, techie geniuses and company insiders, all determined to expose CEMI’s racist practices. The group’s use of novel and unorthodox methods, measured against CEMI’s malicious actions in attempting to hide their company secrets makes for an interesting and suspenseful read.  

The author includes a significant number of characters in this novel, and not all characters are well developed. As a result, the dialogue is at times overstated and comes across as somewhat forced.

The novel is set in Canada, and one could naively suppose that the convictions held by the upper management of CEMI and the subsequent actions of the company based on these beliefs could never happen in this country. However, I fear that the biases exposed in the book may be sadly reflective of the mentality that remains prevalent in the minds of individuals and in the attitudes of corporations.

Recent exposure of the use of racist language in the sports realm, and inflammatory comments made about “those people” on national television illustrates that divisive attitudes and racial biases lurk dangerously close to the surface in the minds of powerful individuals in current society. Wolfe and Palomo’s ‘Class Action’ will hopefully inspire the reader to be more aware of the subtle and not so subtle barriers that still exist in our society.
Miriam van Schie is a retired elementary school teacher and teacher-librarian. She has been a lifelong reader and is always hoping to discover new and innovative authors.

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