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Most of the action is possible, if not always plausible. Likelihood is unnecessary when the main objective is to sustain excitement. Winebrenner does thriller well. Perhaps he should be a screenwriter of shows like 24. In fact this books star could be a retired Jack Bauer. As with any good James Bond-esk script, there is a good deal of tongue-in-cheek comedy, a large measure of violence, a totally unlikely love theme and a certain inevitability. In other words, this is a very enjoyable romp. Unbelievably, by the end I came within a whisker of believing that Ray was a totally possible, bigger than life, ex-marine.
This adventure is a shot in the arm for action heroes with disabilities. I praise it for that. We are all reminded that the sum total of any person is very rarely what you see. I will always remember the positive image of disability created for me by Raymond Burr in his TV series role as the disabled detective “Ironside”. The adage, you don’t judge a book by its cover, is more than apt.
This really is a far more exciting and less political thriller than the cover suggests. This book is full of action, an irreverent fictional look at the sorts of people who get into positions of power, and of the equally strong individuals who struggling in the gutters of circumstance. This is a read for distracting from everyday demands a one collapses, on a soon Sunday, after dinner.
Ray gets shelter from a pastor and repays the community by helping them hook a wireless router to all the computers instead of many separate lines and bills. Southern cooking includes catfish, ham-hock greens and rice. Then there’s the picnic, with a wealth of soups, fruit, vegetables and salads to go with a plethora of meats. For a lamed man of forty-eight, he’s not doing too badly, and he’s got a new love interest in a multi-cultural community. But the activists catch up with him as witnesses to the earlier killings are being eliminated in supposed accidents.Ray’s necessarily constricted movements and noticeability make him an unusual, larger-than-life hero, while he hasn’t forgotten how to handle a gun or switchblade. We get the odd wry comment such as “I looked like a Mary Poppins chimney sweep.” He uses coded e-mail messages from internet cafes and doesn’t use credit cards that can be tracked. Ray then takes a bigger step towards anonymity. Now even his own remaining family won’t know him, and he can spy on conspirators and find out about Mariana LaGrange. The threat deepens however – to a nuclear missile aimed at Washington.
This is fast-paced and daring in concept, occasionally violent and sometimes loving. With so many injured soldiers returning from today’s wars, we need to create places for disabled people in our societies, and that includes our literature. Fans of paranoid conspiracy theory thrillers will get a real kick out of this book by the author of two rather more cosy tales, the Henri Derringer Mysteries.