Monday, 24 March 2014

MIKE HARVKEY IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS


Synopsis/blurb…..
Battered, bruised, and bloodied by the economic collapse, Clyde Twitty has all but given up hope for the future. The factory has shut down, the pick-up needs repairs, and the place he calls home is the town the American Dream forgot. Right about now he could use some help. Enter Jay Smalls, a charismatic martial artist who exerts an intense magnetic pull. Under Jay’s brutal instruction, Clyde begins a series of increasingly frightening tests that draw him into a seedy underworld of bare-knuckle fighting, brazen criminal acts, homemade drugs, and homegrown extremism. Jay reshapes Clyde into a fearless fighter—and directs his burning anger at a deserving target: the government. 

In this thrilling debut novel—equal parts satire and morality play—Harvkey shines a sharp light on the radical underbelly of the floundering American Midwest. As he traces the violent rebirth of a desperate man, he explores with unflinching acuity the ugly nature of hate, the mechanics of radicalization, and the atomic power of having someone believe in you.

New author, debut novel, uncomfortable reading in places.

We have a down-trodden protagonist; Clyde Twitty, who we are sympathetic to and are rooting for.  Clyde is unemployed with few prospects. He’s scraping a few bucks delivering cars part-time to auction. He’s trying to support his mother and his disabled uncle – Willy. His only friend has blown town for the bright lights of Nashville.

Alone, dis-affected and ripe for seduction; Clyde falls under the spell of Jay Smalls, a white supremacist and militant. Jay with his smooth patter and his corrupting philosophy enlists Clyde into his small band of fellow-thinking Aryan dunderheads.

As Clyde leaves behind his old life for Jay’s band, I was still rooting for him; still hoping that he could reverse his chosen path and get back to some rational thought and action. We had glimpses of hope when he befriends, Chetto – a Mexican work colleague at his new job in Jefferson City and spends time in the company of his family. We felt just maybe after visiting his uncle to say goodbye; that his family bonds would prove too strong to sever.
Mike Harvkey

Alas, no happy endings.      

Martial arts training, brutality, punishment, carrot and stick, conflict, indoctrination, White Aryan Congress, family, abandonment, belief, crystal meth., surveillance, robbery, ZOG, Israel, Timothy McVeigh, Ruby Ridge, WACO, armed militias, stockpiled weaponry, explosives, Kansas City, Jefferson City, government targets, Hispanics, friendships, strippers, crank, alcohol, small business, hot sauce, Walmart, FBI, bullet wounds, hospital, coma, recovery, abandonment, tipping point, explosives, plans, shoot out, death, revolution.   

Enjoyable, interesting, deep, worrying and scary. Fascinating look at how unemployment and economic misery can be subverted from dis-affection with government into militant radicalisation, especially in an environment where guns abound.

4 from 5  

Another Net Galley download.


Mike Harvkey hails from Missouri, which ticks another box on my USA State Reading Challenge. His website is here

In the Course of Human Events is published on 15th April by Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press

14 comments:

  1. Col - It's troubling but true. When people are desperate and disaffected, and when they see few or no options, they often turn in very dangerous directions. Sounds like a well-written story of how that can happen. Though I will admit, I'm not much of a one for martial arts. Still...

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    Replies
    1. Margot, I was engrossed form start to finish. I was hoping for a realisation from CT about the dangerous path he was heading down, but.....

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  2. Oh dear, I think this one sounds just too depressing and gloomy and violent for me. But I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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    Replies
    1. Moira, no problem, I'm not happy myself unless I'm reading about doom, gloom and depression!

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  3. Col, the line "...small band of fellow-thinking Aryan dunderheads" made me smile. An interesting story though I think I'll skip it for now.

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    Replies
    1. Prashant, thanks. It may still be available on NG if you have a change of heart!

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  4. How did I miss so many of your posts? Of course, when you do one a day, it is hard to keep up. (Whining.) Work has been bad with some other issues going on... those are my excuses.

    My books never have that much going on and I would not be able to keep up if they did. The look at unemployment, etc. and the effects sounds interesting. But I do like some kind of uplifting element.

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  5. Tracy, no problem. I'm having more to say this week on the blog than last, hence more posts. I've sped up on my reading which is good.

    Hopefully work and other things iron themselves out quickly and you can get back to worrying about what to read next or what books Glen should treat you to this weekend! The important things!

    There was a lot happening here, so much that I forgot a few bullet points and subsequently added them afterwards. Interesting - very, uplifting - no afraid not.

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