Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Review: 'Warrior' by Terry Irving

Washington DC author Terry Irving uses his years of writing news stories for ABC News during Watergate as well as producing stories in Beirut, Hong Kong, El Salvador and all 50 states - television news, magazine articles, standup comedy routines and as one of the creators of online media as fodder for this new foray. With all that under his belt has also gained respect for his books - `War Stories: Tiananmen Square 1989 and Beirut 1982 and The Berlin Wall 1989: Confessions of a Network News Producer, Working Through Depression, On the Road (Time cut 1969 to 2013), `Courier' (which is Book 1 in the series Freelancer of which WARRIOR is Book 2, and now he pushes his Vietnam Veteran Rick Putnam, a man who rides a motorcycle for a national news network in another adventure in which he re-thinks an historical event. With Terry's natural gift of journalism and dealings with the government and other sources of corruption, this story is a natural and he whizzes us through it like a cycle on fire.

To borrow a touch of a Kirkus synopsis of the plot, `Set in 1973, the story centers on the Wounded Knee debacle in South Dakota, in which members of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied a small town within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In this fictional version, the activists, surrounded and beleaguered by U.S. law enforcement, are increasingly threatened with the possibility of a final, deadly raid that ends the standoff once and for all. Rick Putnam joins his Native American friend, Eve [Buffalo Calf], in an attempt to sneak badly needed supplies past the blockade surrounding the town. The area is crackling with violence, riddled with various tribal factions all deeply territorial, suspicious of outsiders, and accustomed to spontaneous bouts of violence. Rick, troubled by the political intrigue he encountered (and barely survived) in Book 1, uncovers yet more subterfuge regarding the collusion of the federal government with corrupt officials within the Bureau of Indian Affairs. What follows is an action-packed adventure that includes nefarious government forces, intramural tribal conflict, and motorcycle gangs. Rick Putnam remains the constant through the two volumes of the now highly respected FREELANCER Series: he's still a chain-smoking, wisecracking tough guy haunted by memories of service in Vietnam.'

Facts, well drawn from a synopsis, yet the facts don't begin to explain the drive of this novel, the growing importance of Terry Irving as a writer, how Terry is making Rick Putnam into a that type of `hero' that calls to mind an image of Liam Neeson type acting - all hellfire and brimstone with just enough of a soft spot to include a bit of romance. And he awakens our awareness of the plight of the American Indian in our history - all with the gusto and places us fully into the action to the point we are dodging the same bullets as Rick and his computer hacker housemates. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, July 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.