Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: All Her Father's Guns by James Warner

Title: All Her Father's Guns
Author: James Warner
Year Published: 2011

Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 190
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Challenges:
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (California, Nevada, and Arizona)

FTC Disclosure: I was given a copy for review

Summary (from the back of the book): Cal Lyte, a gun-loving venture capitalist, is tired of paying alimony to his ex-wife Tabytha. Plotting to blackmail her and derail her campaign for Congress he enlists the help of their daughter's boyfriend, British academic Reid Seyton, to unearth some Lyte family secrets. But the results turn out to be more than anyone bargained for. In an escalating cycle of revelations that will leave nobody's life the same.

Review: I think I went into this novel thinking it was something it isn't. I thought it was a mystery or a thriller, but it isn't, it's more a character study and a look into how we respond when life doesn't go the way we expect it to.

The book is told from two perspectives in alternating chapters: Reid is an academic working in the Department of Theory. Really. As someone who grew up in an academic/University family, I totally understood Reid (at least in the beginning). At first Reid is the liberal intellectual who has nothing in common with Cal, his girlfriend's father, but as the story progresses Reid begins to help Cal get "the dirt" on Cal's ex-wife. This seemed a little strange to me. Why is Reid going against the things he believes in to help someone he doesn't even really like or respect?

The other chapters are narrated by Cal, a super conservative, Christian, gun-toting, paranoid who is mixed up in things he shouldn't be. The compound in Nevada where he has a condo was fascinating: barbed wire, lots of guns and security measures that go beyond the norm. The men who live there even mention Waco. I think I didn't realize people really lived that way! At first I didn't like Cal, but as the book progressed I came to find him the most interesting of all the characters. He is the one whose life is changing the most, who has people in his life (his ex-wife and his daughter specifically) who aren't behaving the way he expects them to, which is very difficult for him.

All in all the book was alright for me. The characters are interesting, but there just seemed to be a bit much going on for me, it felt like it needed a bit of focus. However, I like the way the author revealed more and more about the characters through the things that happened to them and how they reacted rather than what they said. I also feel like I got a glimpse into a life style/segment of our society with which I am not familiar.

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