6. Senator John Henry Braden is a fictional character. In what ways does he remind you of real-life politicians? What qualities do you think Americans value most in their leaders?
7. The author describes Less than Dead as “a very American story.” What do you think he means? Hint: Think about the difference between Victoria Braden’s horses and Alena’s dogs.
8. Only one of Alena’s dogs is a purebred. Can you guess which one from the descriptions? If you need help, try Googling “Chinese Crested.”
9. Did one of Alena’s dogs stand out as your favorite? Which one, and why?
10. What personality traits do Nick and Alena share? How is Alena’s hair like Nick’s glasses? How are her dogs like Nick’s bugs?
11. Ask yourself the question Nick asked Victoria Braden when they first met: “Why do you suppose people get flustered in the presence of beauty?” Have you ever felt that way? Why does Nick feel flustered? Why does it annoy him?
12. Describe Chris Riddick as you imagine him. What would he be like to meet in person? If the book were made into a film, who can you imagine playing his role?
13. What is Agnes’s driving motivation? What made her willing to go as far as she did? Did you feel sorry for her in any way?
14. Alena tells Nick that a dog is trained to pursue a little white towel. What does she mean when she asks Nick, “What’s your little white towel?” What’s yours?
15. Who was responsible for Chris Riddick’s death? Why do you think the author chose to handle his demise in this manner?