Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Book Review: 'Wild World' by Peter S. Rush

New York author Peter S. Rush earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations Brown University and his Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He has served as a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, a Peace Corps volunteer, and a police officer. Now he is currently CEO of a global management firm - and writing, beginning with this debut novel WILD WORLD – a vibrant work of importance

Though word has spread quickly about this excellent new artist and the timely novel that asks the reader to recall the Vietnam War and its consequences, distilling the many facets of this book is best shared in the media reports from critics and interviews from his own site.

The story is told from the vantage of a Brown University student turned police officer (reflections from the author’s history) who uses the Kent State student killings as the springboard to change the system. ‘You can’t change a system unless you understand it and are part of it. In May 1970, Steve Logan is a senior at Brown University, deeply in love with his girlfriend Roxy, and on his way to law school at Georgetown. Then the news hits; four students have been killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State. As Brown’s campus roils with protests, Steve meets a New York City police officer taking on corruption in the force. Steve is inspired by his example - a person making a real difference. Looking for a way to stay with Roxy in Providence, RI, he decides to join the police force and change the system from within. But he soon realizes that his idealism is no match for the hard reality of life as a cop and he must make the most difficult choice of his life: should he do the right thing, despite the costs? This is a time of protests to the Vietnam War and a burgeoning feminism movement accompanied by a soundtrack to the era with references from Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and more. Steve and Roxy fall deeper in love as they spend the summer together. However, as Steve begins active duty, he witnesses cops being paid to look the other way while crimes are committed. He also sees fellow officers exercise their power to oppress the vulnerable and escalate incidents to violence. At the same time, Roxy is increasingly dismayed by their changing relationship. Steve’s rotating shifts mean he is away at odd hours and they see less and less of each other. Steve must focus on the one thing he has left, his chance to make a difference. An assignment to type up some false reports arouses his suspicions to a larger conspiracy that goes far beyond the force. With the Captain and the rest of the officers either indifferent or hostile towards him, and unable to turn to Roxy or anyone at Brown for assistance, Steve realizes just how high the stakes are and how much it will cost him. He must now find a way to change the system and fight for the love of his life without compromising his principles.

Yes, this is a fictional resetting of history, but it is so very pertinent to our time that reading it brings into sharp focus that flaws in our present political condition: change is not only possible, but inevitable. Peter Rush is a sensitive and powerful writer whose future in American literature seems secure with the publication of this debut novel. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, February 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited.

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.