In this “spellbinding and totally original thriller” (Philipp Meyer, author of The Son) a lonely veteran’s gruesome discovery throws him right into the face of danger as a twisted investigation unravels the secrets of his dark past.
One early morning on a Norfolk beach in Virginia, a dead body is discovered by a man taking his daily swim—Arman Bajalan, formerly an interpreter in Iraq. After narrowly surviving an assassination attempt that killed his wife and child, Arman has been given lonely sanctuary in the US as a maintenance worker at the Sea Breeze Motel. Now, convinced that the body is connected to his past, he knows he is still not safe.
Seasoned detective Catherine Wheel and her newly minted partner have little to go on beyond a bus ticket in the dead man’s pocket. It leads them to Sally Ewell, a local journalist as grief-stricken as Arman is by the Iraq War, who is investigating a corporation on the cusp of landing a multi-billion-dollar government defense contract.
As victims mount around Arman, taking the team down wrong turns and towards startling evidence, they find themselves in a race, committed to unraveling the truth and keeping Arman alive—even if it costs them absolutely everything.
Life can be short in third-world countries. Arman had a lovely wife and daughter in Afghanistan during the war. He received fair compensation as an interpreter for the U.S. military. However, he lost both of them during the conflict and would never forgive himself for not staying there to protect them.
Sally was stationed in Afghanistan at the time and they became good comrades and associates. With his family gone and nobody left in his home country, he emigrated to the United States and worked as an informant with law enforcement. Sally considers him one of her best assets. Her record is exemplary and her boss is jealous of her successes and wants her fired from the police force.
People die with an alarming frequency in a usually quiet seaside town on the east coast. Sally realizes that her success in catching criminals is directly related to the intel that Arman provides. They have a mutual respect and admiration for each other; two loners navigating the sea of life with constant danger.
Kevin Powers presents the life of drug dealers and immigrants who are forced to become involved with them by necessity. Losing an entire family during a war and then being required to become engaged in illegal activities to survive is harsh. The refugee is subjected to the same pressures that the war placed upon he and his family in his own country. Eye-opening and an engaging read. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Political Thrillers & Suspense, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Military Thrillers
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Print Length: 369 pages
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
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The Author: Kevin Powers is the author of The Yellow Birds, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and was a National Book Award Finalist. He was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar.
©2023 CE Williams – V Williams