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A Thousand Bayonets by Joel Mark Harris

A Thousand Bayonets

by Joel Mark Harris

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I received this book via Goodreads giveaway. The synopsis (journalist returning to Vancouver after being a correspondent in Afghanistan and Iraq gets caught up in organized crime turf wars) sounded very interesting--the execution wasn't as good. I found the characters to be very flat and cookie-cutter. Journalist has ex-wife that he still loves and doesn't really know his kid, the old crusty detective with the new younger female partner, the newspaper editor who has been in the business forever and knows how to play the game. Sometimes the writing got in the way--in one chapter, the main character, John Webster, would be referred to as John and next chapter he would be Webster. I couldn't get interested enough to finish the second half of the book.
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
First off, as a matter of full disclosure, Harris was brought up in Vancouver and the novel takes place there. I have this problem where I get strangely sentimental about books that place in the city I live in. I get a strange sense of delight when I'm reading about Gastown or South Vancouver or the Vancouver Public Library. This probably means I'm a little biased, but I'll put my thoughts down about this book anyway.

John Webster is a deeply flawed character. He's a borderline alcoholic, not a great husband or father, deeply reckless...and I found myself rooting for him the entire time. There were some really dumb moves made by John, but at the same time, I'd classify him as "stupidly courageous". I've never felt deeply compelled to draw people's attention to anything, but John is a true journalist who sees corruption and murder and wants people to know about it even if it puts his life at risk (i.e. "stupidly courageous).

The supporting cast of characters were all quite unique in their own ways, but none of them were especially memorable. There were two female potential love interests and we get a little satisfaction from both those relationships. The plot moved at a decent pace, but there were quite a few characters to keep track of. I had to go back a couple of times to remember who a certain person was. The ending was slightly abrupt. I think I would have enjoyed a longer progression to the climax.

This novel was still extremely well-written and I enjoyed reading it. He's a very promising writer in the mystery genre and I'll definitely be checking out any of his future books. ( )
  jadestar31 | Jul 9, 2012 |
I won a copy of this book free from a Goodreads giveaway.

This book is not in a genre I would normally read. That being said I really enjoyed it. The thriller/crime novel had very good pacing and an interesting plot. The protagonist and the main supporting characters were all unique and the characters developed throughout the book. The author utilized flashbacks and nightmares as a major element in explaining John’s back story. His trauma from Afghanistan and his boss’ experiences at Ground Zero really bring the story alive. It wasn’t too intense or violent, Harris had a good balance between the darker and more lighthearted material. John’s race against the clock and the Vancouver police in order to get his story and protect his sources made for a decent night’s read. ( )
  kkunker | Jun 13, 2012 |
I too won this book in exchange for a review.

I wish that I could give a high rating but there are some problems for me. I did not find any of the characters to be memorable.

I do not think any journalist with a thought for anything other than a front page story would put themselves in harm's way without a thought for his life or those around him. A bit over the top for me.

The book is not all gloom though. The basic story, cliche as it may seem, was thoughtful. The author dwelt in too much minutia and I found myself wandering at times.

I feel this is an average story leaning towards the fairly good side. Not a bad first effort. Hopefully his next book will be in something other than the journalism realm. ( )
  honoliipali | Jun 13, 2012 |
Disclosure: I received a copy of this from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Synopsis: John Weaver, an ex-war correspondent is caught up in a mob power shift that takes everyone by surprise. As a witness to the execution of one mob boss, the main character struggles against his demons, competition from other journalists, and lies coming from every direction. His only goals are to protect his source and get to the bottom of what he witnessed.

While the characters are coping with threats of death, evading court summonses, personal relationships and emotional meltdowns, the author weaves in the realities of how journalists are perceived by their readers, how fame - even if brief - has a way of altering one's plans significantly and the journalist's own views of how they react during certain events.

Weaver and the rest of the cast of characters are all very believable. They're all intent on protecting what they believe in, not to mention their backsides. As is true of most thrillers, the raw emotion, tension and anxiety are palpable and I found myself cheering on the protagonist. I did expect a less tidy ending, but then again I hope it's not the end of John Weaver, or Harris.
  d_bookworm | May 30, 2012 |
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Upon returning from Afghanistan, journalist John Webster discovers a gang war in his backyard. Now he must find a way to survive in this Canadian warzone-or die in the crossfire.

John Webster has seen the terrible things human beings can do. He's an experienced investigative journalist, recently returned from the war in Afghanistan. John saw hell over there; he looked death straight in the face. He is glad to be back to the normalcy of his Canadian home-that is, until he realizes there is a war brewing in his own backyard, and "peace" is a word no longer spoken.

John gets caught up in the battle between two of the most powerful and murderous criminal gangs in the city. Using what he learned on the foreign battlefields, he stays alive, despite the price on his head. The only way to save his own life is to find the man responsible for the brutal neighborhood bloodshed. When the police slap a subpoena on him, though, John finds his only solace on the streets.

Suddenly, John is back in a warzone, fighting for his life. Will he be able to stop the bloodthirsty crime lords? The flashbacks to Afghanistan threaten to pull John into darkness. Soon, the past and present collide, and he can't tell which way is up or down. The need for redemption may be stronger than the need for survival as John Webster finds himself on his most dangerous assignment yet.
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