THE DESERTER by Nelson and Alex DeMille merits two reviews. One as a novel, and the other related to some of the backdrop content. And I am trying for no spoilers in either review. Looking at it as a novel, it is a well crafted, clever story with really good character development. And the pictorial descriptions of life in war torn Afghanistan and militant, chaotic Venezuela are exceptionally clear and help set the stage for the story. The often humorous dialogue between the two principle characters is reminiscent of some of Nelson DeMille's early novels (think about the character John Corey). So it's a great read. Now on to the content review. This may stray into spoiler realm. The primary story begins with Afghanistan and alleged atrocities there by some American troops and attempts to cover them up. The story then moves to current day Venezuela, which has descended into incredible chaos as its economy cratered and the story is filled with examples of people who had good middle class and/or service jobs, suddenly found themselves without jobs and surrounded by a totally corrupt government which was no help at all. In both cases, the story line is quite graphic. I don't have enough background on what has gone on in Afghanistan in terms of atrocities, or in Venezuela to know if the level of descriptive detail is based on truth or just creative fiction - or both. In either case, both are very disturbing. You need to be ready for that.

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