Thursday, April 30, 2015

Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz ****

Eve Hardaway is in on vacation on Oaxaca Mexico when, improbably, a rogue al-Queda terrorist, Bashir the Bear, decides that the remote tourist camp is a threat. Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz follows the duel between this seasoned mountain warrior and a Prius-driving, single mother. Though, as a reader the resolution was never in question, the story moved quickly from crisis to crisis.

The opening, where Eve and her fellow eco-tourists arrive at Dias Felices Ecolodge(tm), is a spot-on accurate description of this class of tourist accommodation that has appeared around the globe from tent camps in Africa, to ecotourism resorts in the Brazilian Pantanal. They all combine the appearance of rustic accommodations, with the safety and comfort of home, including flush toilets, hot water, and gourmet menus. Eve observes the primitive local culture and environment juxtaposed to the modern, sanitized and mechanized infrastructure supporting the illusion.

Very effectively, Bashir the Bear's appearance is that much more threatening against this backdrop of control and tourism. Bashir quickly shifts the balance from civilization to the wild. Each of the tourists responds differently to being sudden thrust out of the illusion into the reality.

A few details on the writing. First, I appreciated that the most violent scenes were only presented in summary and as reference to past events. On the other hand, the writing seemed to be as fast as the reading. In one scene, an injured person is placed on a table, but in the next scene a bomb has mysteriously materializes under her. In another case, a crocodile seems to have an endless appetite, whereas most crocodiles require periods from days to months to digest a meal. Also our mountain warrior vacillates between a preference for toughened bare feet to one for boots, in each case remarking on the superiority of the current choice.

Overall, predictable and enjoyable.

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