A thriller about a college student who flees to Canada after his favorite professor frames him for murder.
Sharry depicts the same post–Vietnam War disillusionment that was central to his first book, For Renata (2014). In the wake of the disastrous riots at Kent State University, college student and reservist Bobby Coyle is called by his commanders to help quell protests at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. When one of Bobby’s superiors becomes aggressive toward a young co-ed, Bobby steps in to defend her, knocking out his commanding officer. Worried he may have killed the man, Bobby runs from the scene looking for help, which he finds in Adam Payne. Little does Bobby know that Payne is a psychopath, a terrifically evil man engaged in a string of his own crimes and indiscretions. Payne seizes upon Bobby’s misfortune, manipulating the scenario so Bobby takes the fall for Payne’s unrelated wrongdoings. He convinces Bobby to escape to Canada, where Payne intends to complete the frame-up, then have him killed. As Bobby tries to create a new life for himself, he wises up to Payne’s plan, staying in hiding to evade American authorities as well as Payne. As Sharry shifts between scenes of the deserter and the deserted, he keeps the reader guessing about whether Bobby will ever find peace and whether Payne will get his just deserts. There is constant fear throughout the tale that Payne will catch up with Bobby, putting an end to the gripping cat-and-mouse game he has created. In addition to this undercurrent of suspense, Sharry presents realistic emotional struggles involving Bobby’s estranged relationships with family members, seemingly ubiquitous yearnings for approval, and the pervasive distrust of government that prevailed during much of the turbulent 1970s. While maintaining a fast narrative pace, Sharry still manages to intriguingly address questions of hope, loyalty, and love. Readers will hold their breath waiting to see how it all turns out.
A tale of misplaced trust, opportunities lost, and indefatigable hope that will satisfy war vets and pacifists alike.