Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975–77)
FANS OF HARD-BOILED CRIME a la James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and political thrillers a la Jeffrey Archer (Kane and Abel) should make room on your bookshelves for R.J. Huddy’s third novel. The book follows an obscure Kentucky Congressman and his sons from 1959 until the 1990s. The author uses family tension to lay out a story about the Palestine problem and in so doing, simultaneously explores our government’s role in the Middle East from the time of FDR.
The Congressman longs to create a family political dynasty but his youngest son volunteers for the armed forces rather than submit. He is killed in Vietnam. The older son studies at Georgetown, then in Beirut when it was still considered a Paris of the Middle East. His father, hounded by the I.R.S., hoards money overseas and absconds. “We’ve got a whole shitload of money,” he tells his son. “Enough to fund an entire presidential campaign…”
While in Beirut, the young son, Clark Hatling, falls in love with a Muslem. She is soon promised to marry a man of her faith and Clark is advised by her family to leave her in peace. He returns home, volunteers for Vietnam, survives, goes back to college as a basketball player, briefly plays professional ball and then earns a PhD in Middle Eastern history. He is elected to Congress in 1990. He is considered a presidential hopeful, but the son of his middle-eastern, long disappeared flame and their secret son, will complicate his life.
This is a page turner.
Lawrence F. Lihosit is the author of ten books and seven pamphlets some of which have received note. His latest, Peace Corps Experience: Write and Publish Your Memoir, is now available on Amazon.com.