The End of the Day, by Claire North

Second paragraph of third chapter:

…in a land of rain…

I very much liked four of the previous five books I have read by Claire North – The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Touch, The Sudden Appearance of Hope and 84k – and also enjoyed seeing her at Novacon a year ago.

I’m afraid The End of the Day fell into the less good category for me. The writing as ever is good,and there are some lovely vignettes, but I did not quite gel with the central plot concept: Charlie, the protagonist, has been recruited to be the harbinger of Death, who together with the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse is active in today’s world; bad guys are trying to interfere with Death, and there’s some incidental observations on US politics that didn’t really come together for me. Still, liking four out of six books by her is not bad and I’ll still be looking to buy more. You can get this one here.

This was the top unread book on my shelves acquired in 2018. Next on that pile is Ratlines, by Stuart Neville.

Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election, by John Danforth et al

Second paragraph of third chapter:

According to Michigan election officials who certified the results, President Biden carried Michigan by a margin of 154,188 votes out of 5.5 million cast.113 Biden received 50.6% of the vote and Trump received 47.8%.114 In 2016, Trump carried Michigan by a margin of 10,700 votes out of roughly five million cast.115 Trump received 47.3% of the vote.116 Clinton received 47.0%.117
113 Michigan Election Results 2020, POLITICO (last updated Jan. 6, 2021), https://www.politico.com/2020-election/results/michigan/; Michigan Bureau of Elections, Audits of the November 3, 2020 General Election 1 (2021), https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/BOE_2020_Post_Election_Audit_Report_04_21_21_723005_7.pdf.
114 Michigan Election Results 2020, supra note 113.
115 Id.
116 Id.
117 Id.

A short but very stern report signed by eight leading American conservative lawyers; the two I had heard of are former senator John Danforth, who was briefly the US ambassador to the United Nations in 2004, and Ted Olsen, who was solicitor-general under the younger Bush and whose wife was killed on 9/11. The actual author of most of it is presumably an unnamed researcher working for one of the eight (my money would be on Michael W. McConnell, who is a university professor and thus has access to the necessary resources of both young people and information).

In any case, it’s very straightforward: the report simply summarises all 64 lawsuits initiated by the Trump campaign and its supporters in the six key states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and describes why each was lost or withdrawn. I don’t think it will be news to anyone reading this that there is simply no evidence of fraud on behalf of the Biden campaign in those states at all, let alone anything large enough to have affected the outcome. It’s forensic and not too long (69 pages).

I dabbled in this issue a bit myself, on the morning after the 2020 election when a journalist friend called me for comment on Trump’s threat to take the election result to the Supreme Court. At a moment when a lot of commentators were holding their fire (in many cases because they were still in bed), I said on the record that Trump had no case, and that even if he did, he’d have to fight through lower level courts first. I consequently found my name popping up in mentions in Chinese (both Hong Kong and Taiwan, and presumably the mainland as well), Indonesian and Vietnamese as well as the less unusual SpanishPortugueseItalian and Greek.

I did not think I was doing anything more than stating the obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated, and this report does it at greater length and more effectively than me. I spoke, of course, before the 6 January 2021 attempt to overthrow the democratic results of the election, which Trump incited and directed, so it still needs to be said. You can get the report here.