Book Review: ‘Assault Rifles & Pedophiles’ a fun read, but not for the timid

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jun. 12 | Modified: Jun. 12
Book Review: ‘Assault Rifles & Pedophiles’ a fun read, but not for the timid

John Danielson is a man with not many options, and he is quickly running out of time.

As he shares the sordid tale of how he fell from prominence as a nationally recognized journalist, Danielson provides insights into a not-so-distant society that is once again gripped with the fear of total annihilation from foreign powers and an industry on its last leg.

In Brian Krans’s latest semiautobiographical account, “Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story,” Danielson is a protagonist with questionable ethics who reaches near-Hollywood status with his controversial coverage of “celebricides.”

A coined term by the media, celebricides become the latest trend of failed Hollywood actors who decide to end their life in a public fashion by attempting to immortalize their careers with one last great publicity stunt.

In a vain attempt to add nobility to their deaths, the actors claim they are doing so to raise awareness for whatever cliché cause or epidemic that is inundating newspaper headlines.

In his portrayal of a future society, suicides are, in fact, legalized, and Danielson finds himself at ground zero of this trend when a twist of fate — he inadvertently adopts the dog of the movie star who triggers the trend — allows him the opportunity to cover celebricides firsthand as a print journalist.

While his exclusive coverage of the deaths propels Danielson from obscurity to celebrity, it comes with a heavy price, as fallout from the highly publicized and glamorized deaths results in copycat deaths from normal citizens.

Even though Danielson is able to stick to his reporter guns in saying, “I’m just doing my job” and “They would kill themselves with or without me present,” he can’t help but question his own career motives.

Krans articulately and deliberately draws parallels between Danielson’s struggle with morality and the painful demise of the industry that served as a steppingstone into his a career as a writer.

Along the way, he successfully intertwines an unlikely, but intense romance with one of Hollywood’s sweethearts.

It takes a love such as this to thrust Danielson out of his comfort zone and life of mediocrity to once again see the beauty in life and break away from his sordid story fodder for good.

“Assault Rifles & Pedophiles” is not for timid readers who are uncomfortable with sexually charged situations, but it’s a worthwhile read, especially as far as cliff hangers go, and a twist ending will send the reader frantically flipping back through previous chapters.

“Assault Rifles & Pedophiles” is available on and other online retailers.

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