When a popular university professor kills himself in front of his freshman class, he is demeaned by the media and cast as a malcontent embittered after not being named to a political position. The problem is, this is not true. His stunned colleagues and friends grow suspicious and try to unearth the reasons for this grossly out-of-character final act of self-destruction.
In their investigation they uncover the tendrils of a secret agency that for decades has been amassing economic, political and telecommunications power. Driven by a narrow agenda of controlling policy, culture and public opinion, it has unbridled and sinister influence over the American people.
An unlikely team of individuals serve as detectives, placing their own lives in jeopardy in order to expose the truth. Written with intensity and intelligence, Challenge raises uncanny questions about the reach of the media, the unseen limits of personal freedom and the dangers of our own failure to analyze all sides of the events and policies that affect our lives. This is a book that will hold your interest from the first page to the last.
"Excellent! You will love this book. It will capture your attention from the very first page. You won't want to put it down. A MUST read!"
"Generally speaking, I spend so much time reading newspapers online and off, news magazines and blogs, when I want to read fiction, I shy away from anything remotely resembling the current version of reality. At the urging of some friends at Eschaton, however, I made an exception and read Bob Hoffman's Challenge. I'm glad I did.
It's a crackling good story that starts with a bang (literally) as a college professor shoots himself at the end of a rambling lecture at a small Midwestern college. As his friends and colleagues try to figure out why this normally solid man would do such a thing, they discover a super-secret agency which has taken over control of the government, all forms of communication, even religion as it attempts to re-form America in its own image. The characters driving the plot are all 'regular folks,' the kind who populate our colleges, our businesses, our neighborhoods, good and decent people, and in the end they triumph out of sheer doggedness and the belief that they have to do what they are doing.
What I found particularly fascinating was the way the agency manipulated all facets of news and how it was presented to the public. Not only were the news deliverers hand picked and trained in the delivery techniques, they were constantly monitored and replaced at the slightest deviation from the script, dismissed into disgrace and worse. I had a hard time watching even the local newscasts for more than a week after finishing the book, wondering just how close Mr. Hoffman came to discovering why the pablum we are fed each night is the way it is.
The book is not suitable for those quiet minutes spent with the latest best seller before bed time. It's too angry-making and appalling. It is, however, a great story and well worth carving out some time for reading and pondering."
— Diane Trzcinski,
"I just finished Challenge. I may have to order another copy for loaning out (I'll keep my signed by the author copy myself thank you). Very entertaining, and well done, sir! As a person with a variety of interests and distractions it is not easy for a singular activity to hoover up the better part of an afternoon and early evening, other than hanging out in this place. Tomorrow I will see if I can cough up a few lines to do the work justice, maybe something for the next printing that does not use the terms compelling or riveting (not that they don't apply, they just come off like so much critical boilerplate)! I would heartily recommend its purchase. It is not often that I read the last 200 pages of a book in one sitting. Bob Hoffman has reason to be proud of his labors."
“I want to thank you for lending me the copy of Challenge. The book kept me interested, the story line was consistent, and the characters were “alive.” Maybe it was the sociologist in me, but I believe you included some great observations on the social construction of truth.”
— Dr. Michelle Lloyd-Paige,
“The force of the story takes the reader along. The topical nature of the material causes one to reflect on exactly what is happening in our society. Challenge is a fine, rather spooky work, written with a laser-light clarity and a wonderful economy of language.”
— Paul Freeman,
“I found the plot to be very good and the characters well-defined. The ending was very exciting - flowing well - and dramatic.”
— Susan Harrison,
“I have read and enjoyed Challenge thoroughly. The plot is gripping and the action keeps moving. Great pacing. All in all this is a great story with interesting characters, a popular theme, and a very satisfying conclusion. It was fun to read!”
— Harrison Arnston,
Bob Hoffman is a 55 year-old husband, father, teacher and writer living in Muskegon, Michigan. During the last sixteen years, Bob has written numerous books. He believes that a successful writer is most often someone who has lived enough to put their thoughts in perspective. Bob has served on the advisory committees of many entities concerning the process of writing. His joy is in both writing and showing others how to capture their thoughts on paper. Bob has been married for thirty-three years to Yvonne and is the father of two sons: Lee, a twenty-one-year-old student at Michigan State University, and Chris, an eighteen-year-old senior in high school in Norton Shores. Bob has written in many genres, including the techno-thriller, short stories, stories for young adults, children’s stories, science fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, philosophy and poetry.