American Roulette

American Roulette Team


One unremarkable Friday in April, a stream of ordinary people make their way to Liberty Mall in Anywhere, USA, to shop, work, keep appointments, or catch a movie. A typical day...

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One unremarkable Friday in April, a stream of ordinary people make their way to Liberty Mall in Anywhere, USA, to shop, work, keep appointments, or catch a movie. A typical day in an average town. American Roulette tells the story of eight of those people.

Emma Franz is a store security guard with a secret. Earl Bricker, a retired factory worker, loves his country, his wife, and his good-old-boy network. Roger Elliot, mid-twenties and miserable, has more than a few axes to grind. High school senior Caitlin Browning, having triumphed over personal challenges, hopes for a quiet evening with her boyfriend. Reverend Chris Deitrich has a special surprise for his weekly Bible study group. Leah McCall, TV personality and teacher, drops by the food court to visit with her best friend. Will Humphreys’ part-time job at the mall offers him little relief from the relentless bullying that plagues his existence.

At 5:17 PM, one of these characters’ actions will change the lives of all the others. Later that night, professional crisis consultant Steven Bradley arrives to help the community deal with the aftermath.

An eclectic group of authors spent six months collaborating on American Roulette, a blockbuster novel full of tension, dread, and anguish. Each author created one of the eight key characters—complete with a supporting cast—who find themselves sharing a common destiny. Readers have but a single day to get to know each of the protagonists before time and circumstances seal their fate.

by the American Roulette Team: Pat LaMarche, Sherry Knowlton, J.M. West, Matthew Best, Phyllis Orenyo, Robert Bradshaw, Andrew Carey, and James Dodds. Foreword by Cheryl Woodruff Brooks. Other contributions by Cheryl Dunn Bychek.
Page Count: 254
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date:  October 24, 2023 
Imprint: Milford House
Genre: Fiction

FICTION / Thrillers / Political
FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
FICTION / Disaster


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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
John Lindermuth
The Tragedy of Our Times

This is not an easy book to read, but it's an important one to add to your reading list.
The story focuses on the individual activities of a group of people on an average day that brings them together with tragic results for the majority in a few minutes during an ordinary visit to a shopping mall.
The book is the work of eight writers who each created a character and the novel follows these characters on their routine through the day in alternating chapters leading up to the climax. These characters are Emma Franz, a security guard fated to become a heroine; Earl Bricker, a retiree who has brought his wife to the mall to purchase a dress for their daughter's wedding; Roger Elliott, a young man with serious mental issues; Caitlin Browning, a high school senior recovering from depression and enjoying an outing with her boyfriend; Rev. Chris Dietrich, a minister meeting with his Bible study group; Leah McCall, a TV personality and teacher who is getting together with a friend, and Will Humpreys, a part-time mall employee who has been driven to the brink by bullying at school.
The writers have created a diverse and believable group of characters who are sure to evoke the reader's sympathy.
What fate has in store for these people are heart-wrenching and a vivid reminder of the reality of our times. Though fiction, it depicts the horrors of gun violence, a disease that has come to haunt our everyday lives. Hardly a day goes by without a fresh report of deaths by gun, happening so frequently that some have become blase and pass them off as the cost of living in this society.
So, why would I urge you to read a story that brings such tragedy to mind rather than something more entertaining that might take your mind off this horrible threat?
Because, as Robert Louis Stevenson so aptly put it, "The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction." Fiction sometimes has the power to impress on the mind the need for action in a way no other source can.

A powerful, searing evocation of the horrifying epidemic of gun violence

For the past 20 years, gun violence has become an epidemic in the U.S., with more people dying from it than most diseases. Random shootings in crowded venues, such as schools, malls and churches, have become especially rampant. And, after each shooting comes the same scenario: Grief-stricken survivors expressing their outrage and sorrow while politicians mindlessly intone their "thoughts and prayers" platitudes without doing a damn thing to check the contagion of gun violence.

"American Roulette: A Novel" captures the entire nexus of this horror in devastating, suspenseful detail by creating POV chapters for several characters whose lives will collide in a matter of minutes in a mall. From the bullied teenager on the brink of snapping to a kindly, debt-ridden local pastor, “American Roulette” delves deep into each character’s psyche hours before fate cruelly intervenes. What ensues is a story that doesn’t even seem like fiction as it holds a mirror up to a frightening reality that has become all too commonplace in our world.

Thanks to stirring prose and deeply nuanced characterizations written by a group of talented authors, each focusing on a specific character, “American Roulette” is a powerful, absorbing story that underscores the incumbent moral need for gun control in a society where lawmakers care more about appeasing special interest groups and filling campaign coffers than protecting their citizens. Very highly recommended.

American Roulette is a "must read"

The word “unique” is often overused, but I think the reader will find that American Roulette is a unique book. Eight authors have collaborated to make this a powerful read. Each author developed a realistic character who is drawn to a typical American mall, the place where we shop, eat, socialize, and work. Malls are normally safe and family-friendly; they are not supposed to be killing fields. But in today’s world where guns are so prevalent and not adequately controlled, no place is safe. Statistics, news reports, and the anguished cries of gun victims’ families have not been able to make our legislators change gun laws. Mass shootings keep happening, and little is done to stop the sale of guns of mass destruction. This book does not lecture. Instead, it touches our hearts and shake us up in a new and different way to look at and confront the problem. The authors have a real “tour de force” as they blend their individual characters into one story that is compelling. This is an important book that must be read, discussed, and shared. American Roulette is a “must read.”
Carolyn Kleinman
(author of Love, Faith, and the Dented Bullet and The Class Assignment Is Murder)