Interesting, frightening, all-too-realistic political suspense


Louis Bodnar

El Paso Sunrise

Morgan James Fiction

Paperback (also available as an e-book), 978-1-6427-9325-3, 292 pgs., $17.95

September 24, 2019


El Paso Sunset

Morgan James Fiction

Paperback (also available as an e-book), 978-1-6319-5254-8, 238 pgs., $17.95

April 13, 2021


“The ultimate of human freedoms is the freedom of choice.”


In El Paso Sunrise and El Paso Sunset by Louis Bodnar, it is 2015/2016, and the United States is in political and societal turmoil and appears to be headed toward a second civil war. Book one transitions directly into book two; therefore, reading both in order is highly recommended.


Attorney Steven Vandorol is assigned to lead the prosecution team against the Alvarados, father Alberto and son Ricardo, for their part in the largest instance of annuities fraud in Texas history, in addition to securing indictments for alleged acts of treason by several high-profile people in Washington, DC, including President Barack Obama. While Steven and his team are preparing for trial and getting ready to bring these people down, a small team of Chinese, Russian, and Muslim assassins are preparing to take Steven and the entire prosecution team out before the trial gets underway.


In El Paso Sunrise, Steven has been in El Paso for five years, and his fall from grace and subsequent addiction and selfish lifestyle in prior years, including his time in Washington, DC, have left him with a new-found, intense spirituality and heart grateful for a chance at a new life in a new city. From the start of El Paso Sunrise, Steven dodges several assassination attempts through either good luck or God’s Grace, the latter aligning with Steven’s philosophy. As Sunrise transitions into Sunset, a friend from Steven’s DC years, Vanessa Carson, moves to El Paso, joins the prosecution team, and steals Steven’s heart all over again. This sweet, authentic romance is a good counter to the rough and potentially offensive sexual innuendo delivered by the antagonists throughout both books.


Depending on where they fall on the US political spectrum, some readers may find themselves cheering and nodding in agreement, while others will be frowning and put on the defensive. The main character, Steven Vandorol, and his team fall squarely on the far right as staunch conservatives who oppose the views of both the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee during the 2016 election. Cementing this conservative-heavy view, the antagonists are cold-blooded killers pushing for a communist regime and the complete takeover of the United States of America, allegedly aided by Obama and several others in his administration. While these political leanings could be a hot button for many readers, the overall story of a divided country and a possible second civil war is interesting, frightening, and all too realistic given the ongoing real-life political climate in the United States and its position on the world stage.


It is important to remember that both books are not history lessons. They are works of fiction loosely based on some general facts with other material constructed from speculation and viewpoints of some, but not all, of the global population. Bodnar’s author’s note and appendix provide some points on a few of the factual and fictional aspects. Across both books, the author presents many well-developed characters that deliver hardened and even ruthless action, dark comedy, betrayal, love, and several strong friendships. In the middle of all this lies a Christian-heavy theme that includes lengthy forays into spiritual precepts about redemption and forgiveness, mostly initiated by Steven as he frequently prays and shares with others his spiritual awakening and subsequent affirmations after leaving the nation’s capital for El Paso.


The author makes an interesting choice by bringing book two readers up to speed by including several chapters from book one. This and other repetition may distract the reader; however, the entire story across both El Paso Sunrise and El Paso Sunset is peppered with plenty of intrigue and action to bring them back. An explosive and gruesome ending amidst a frightening powder keg of a plot will definitely capture the imagination and perhaps serve as a persuasive wake-up call for the nation to reunite and reinforce its global position as a strong and fully unified United States of America.


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