Anyone who follows me on Facebook or knows me personally will realize that I am on the left of the political spectrum. It’s not something I am ashamed of, and I don’t try to hide it. If I take any of the “what sort of politics are you?” tests or quizzes, I come out as a “left libertarian” - strong for individual freedom, while recognizing that the state has a role to play in the protection and help of those unable to protect and help themselves.
Over the past few years, we have been seeing governments around the world removing this protection and help, and siphoning the money saved into the pockets of a very few. Such redirection is either done by “austerity programs” which take away basic protections, tax relief for the rich, while leaving the majority still paying the same taxes (or more), privatization of state programs, which supposedly result in savings and increased efficiency, but in practice usually turn out to be inefficient and/or corrupt, and outright fraudulent activity.
It’s the last of those that really makes me angry. There is sufficient evidence that the banks colluded in the first half 2000s to sell fraudulent products - subprime and no-doc home loans - and to get very rich out of it at the expense of the victims who were left homeless and broke. But if I, a civilian living on the other side of the world, am angry about what happened some years ago and who was never personally touched by it, how much angrier would a trained killer be, whose sister lost her life as a result of this fraud?
Enter former US Marine Major Henry Gillette Powers - an Afghanistan vet, who comes home in 2007 and discovers the empty foreclosed house that his sister bought only a few years earlier. Shortly afterwards, he makes a more gruesome discovery: the mutilated corpses of his sister and her family. He sees red, and a trail of corpses marks his path as he moves to New York in search of the Wall Street traders he deems ultimately responsible for his sister’s death, seeking to redress the balance of power.
Yes, this novel was written with a purpose, and with a sense of outrage. But I also think it has entertainment value. Even though his actions put him on the wrong side of the law, Henry Powers always believes he is acting for the best - he is a man who believes in justice, and his country, and is horrified by what has happened in his time away. His friend, Jeanine, who has lost her house in the same way as Henry’s sister, helps him discover some sort of peace as their relationship develops. There is violence and “bad” language in this book, but there is romance, there is some redemption, and even a little humor here and there.
As a writer, I scared myself writing this book - it explored depths I didn’t even know existed, and they weren’t pleasant. But I am proud of the characterization that I achieved, and of the plot that evolved out of my basic anger at the institutions that perpetrated the crimes. So, while the book definitely has a message, it’s also entertainment - and I think it succeeds on that level, whether or not you agree with the basic premises.
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