By Edmund E. Hansen
Park City, Utah: Skybird Publishing, 1993
ISBN # 0-87346-112-6
245 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
August 2008

Win most, lose some. I happened to be at a book fair looking in the normally promising section of “oversized paperbacks.” The title of this book caught my eye and the back jacket cover promised what seemed to be an interesting story and the price was right.

Unfortunately I picked it up to read on the morning after I’d finished a John Barth novel. I was so overwhelmed by Barth and ready for my next great read. Alas and alack.

The book plot has some interesting directions. A half-breed Indian, who had served in Special Forces in Central America, has been assigned as a federal agent in his home area of rural Utah. Agent Lee Chama is a very decent, honest an upright fellow (with only minor misgivings about his terrorist role in Central America for the U.S.). He now protects the area in which his Hopi ancestors once lived. He takes his job seriously.

A body is discovered in the wilderness area and we are launched into a complicated mystery, adventure story. It involves some beautiful Danish women and their powerful father, Ambassador to the U.S. He is afire to get some results on both his dead and missing daughter, and pressures Washington folks, who then lean on Chama.

The plot involves a mysterious secret occult group hidden deep in the mountainous outback, funded by U.S. government sources and protected by a per-historic Indian group.

The story itself is exciting and fun, and even fairly well-told. I won’t delve into the plot since telling much about it would likely spoil the it.

The writing isn’t great, even though the story itself is decent. The characters are not very real or believable, but more like characters in some TV drama. Some plot items – it is a sort of doomsday story – aren’t very deep or believable.

I enjoyed the read (less than a full day’s effort, interrupted by TV coverage of the Democratic Party’s nomination process) but it just wasn’t what I’m used. Most books I read are challenging, stimulating, and provoking thought about the nature of human existence and the world around me. Most are better written.

However, on a hot summer day without much to do, it passed the time in a mainly pleasant manner.

It was the author’s only novel. He died before it was fully finished and his wife and two daughters edited the final version. It won the 1990 Utah League of Writer’s prize. At the time of his death the author was negotiating to have the book published, and after his death his family had the novel privately published.

Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu