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From debut author Hagar comes a novel about war crimes on a small island and the challenge of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Robert Pike takes a job on the island of Infierno, part of the Antilles, to help a company called Combine modernize the native people. This means he’ll “be teaching Indians Internet access,” he’s told. “So they’ll buy crap.” What Robert finds on the island is a society full of racial inequality, strange indigenous people, and a formidable prison known as the Sepulcher. After a lengthy, violent event referred to as the Insurrection sweeps the island, Robert is forced to flee the country. (“The full story calls for an enormous, detail-ridden chronicle of passion, death, courage, cowardice, guilt, and innocence that I’ve not the time, nor the skill, nor, quite frankly, the inclination to write,” Robert tells the reader.) Returning to the United States, he eventually becomes a well-paid corporate attorney. That is, until his old friend Ernesto persuades him to return to Infierno: “Roberto! We need a prosecutor to bring Los Chacales to justice.” As Robert takes on the title of Acusador, he learns that his is no easy task. Robert must navigate ruthless oil corporations, mass graves and stories of horrendous torture. It’s a brutal account, where even metaphors are unclean: “I laughed and our little moment, if it was a moment and not a whore’s ploy, passed like a quick and silent fart.” Parallels to the present day—drones, a “Black Site,” a reality TV show—are obvious, sometimes exceedingly so. Occurrences such as a college intern aiding in an interrogation will strike some readers as darkly humorous, though others may find them overcooked. As the story progresses, it becomes darker and less humorous, providing a protagonist who learns firsthand of the chaos in the developing world and the complex struggle to change it.

Violent and satirical, a cynically entertaining look at the challenges of law and order.

Pub Date: March 15th, 2015
Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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