A blind rage has overpowered his heart.
It was all the fault of the lieutenant-his comrade would have been saved. His boss let him die. Malloy kept on saying Johnny is alive and his commander kept on insisting that Johnny is dead as a stone. He kept on insisting that they keep moving.
On the battlefield-commander is your destiny. But still can you let your pal die knowing fully well-he is alive…..
When they –Malloy and his fellow soldiers mustered the strength to disobey their commander-in a desperate bid to rescue Johnny-there was not much left to be done. He was shot at point blank-bayoneted-what remain are only scattered body parts of Johnny.
That night Malloy could not sleep-a burning sensation is flowing through his veins-through his heart-and probably through his whole body. He even does not know when he entered the lieutenant’s tent, pulled out the pin of the grenade and threw it.
He will remember the sound of the explosion for the rest of the life. From the tattered tent-he discovered a human figure came rushing –screaming! To his horror-Malloy found that the figure is not of his commander’s but of a Vietnamese girl-almost nude with her clothes charred –a part of her body is ripped off exposing internal body part-and her left arm was missing. For the rest of his life- this scene will hunt Malloy in his sleep-he was sure.
From a soldier to the private investigator-so much water have flown through the Hudson in between. Malloy is now solving cases-after the dark world of crime. But has a found a meaning of his life?
The Combat Zone by Jed Power is a crime thriller with fresh plot, detailed description of the underground world and a speed that can be compared with a racing car.
This time Malloy- a soldier turned detective is on a lookout for a teenage of sixteen- a girl who has been a runway and might have lost in the blind lane of crime. Malloy has his own ideas to start with –small time drug dealer Stoney may come in handy. He has a network in the square-and it might not be hard to find Susan Williams who is now known to the people of the square as Susie Sparkle. Billy-cousin of Malloy was also a potential source for information. He is a detective officer in the Cambridge PD-he might have access to the information regarding Susan’s disappearance through Billy. And then Malloy used his own tactics-with a risk stroll down the centre of the Harvard square-
‘I saw a couple of flickers of recognition. They were just kids after all and they couldn’t hide it. So I repeated myself. ‘She’s not in any trouble. Her parents just want to make sure she’s okay.’ My gypsy analogy had been right. If they knew her, no one was talking. ‘if anyone changed their mind, give me a call.’ I passed out a few of my business cards.’
And then started the trouble –suddenly, like the bolt from the blue. It was a biker gang-who seemed to have interest in finding why Malloy has so much interest in finding Susan. And dangerous gang they were-to whom even a strong man like Malloy was proved to be no match-at least physically.
‘The blow was as hard and heavy as the last one, but this time I got it square in the gut. I couldn’t judge which punch has been worse, because the second it landed all through my left hand. My knees buckled, and I was giving up my baked haddock and beer before I hit the ground. I lay there in a fetal position, puking and feeling like someone had hacked away at my stomach with a bayonet.’
But why? Why the biker’s gang is so desperate to keep him away from the case? After all it is a case of simple disappearance-are not it? And not only the biker gang- but also the Cambridge cops seemed to be interested in the case? Two defective officers threatened our protagonist. Malloy was forced –and rightly so the depth of the mystery is deeper than he had anticipated earlier! Even Susan’s father is worried about her if Malloy further progresses into the case.
He had leave the case anyway had he not been heard the scream of the burning girl-that nightmare never let him leave the case anyway. So Malloy reached the valley of fear-a kingdom where girls are traded like commodity, a place where strip clubs thrive at the expense of the soul and body of teenage girls, a place where a pervert runs the business of porn movies and adult items. It is a place where the innocence of Susan Williams has been lost for ever…….
Can he overcome all? Can he recover the lost youth of girl’s like Susan who have lost their innocence in the crooked world of drug, sex and perversion, where death thrives at ever step?
There is another side of the story. Malloy-bleeding within himself with his past, with the nightmare that haunts him seeks to take refuge in the safe haven of the embrace of a woman who he desires-who comes every night in his dream. Now the question is whether the woman of his dream will come in his reality? Will the reel life be the real life?
Depression, desperation, despair-all forced our protagonist slowly to surrender to the imaginary dreamy world of drugs. Slowly but surely the end will come. Can Malloy muster the strength to erase his past and script a new beginning?
A crime thriller that is not a run of the mill book-that’s how the book can be expressed in a one liner. It has action sequences, filled with punch-it has unpredictability- it has surprises for reader at every step-but more than all these it deals with the emotional world of the characters of the story. Both dark side and bright side of the psychological traits have been exposed brilliantly by the writing of the writer. Story has its share of praise-but the development of characters is also praiseworthy.
After all strong characters can only perform strong works!
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The review was done courtesy to the copy provided by the writer in association with