I am so excited to be part of the explosive blog tour for the amazing Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty, who once again achieved the miracle of keeping me hooked on an action thriller!
My review will be shorter as we are dealing with a series and the less you know, the better it is!
Title: Reconciliation for the Dead
Author: Paul E. Hardisty
Publisher: Orenda Books
Date of publication: May 2017
Number of pages: 346
Rating: and a half
Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.
Straker strikes again.
This pretty much sums up my experience with Reconciliation for the Dead. I don’t know his secret, but Paul Hardisty takes you to the heart of the action, in every sense of the way.
Feelings, guns, truth, scars are all put together in a clever, raw and painful way to dig into one of the most fascinating characters and one of the most harrowing period of history.
Claymore Straker was shaped by his past, and the man he is now wants atonement. Not just for himself, but for all the wrongs, all the decisions, and all the things that could have been avoided, all the things that should not have been. I loved getting to know the man better, through his own eyes, thoughts, actions, it was terrible and felt so authentic.
I must admit I only have limited knowledge of South Africa’s history but it never prevented me from feeling connected to the story through Claymore’s eyes. I did my best not to judge, not to make assumptions, I went for the ride and it showed me hell. Had it been another author, I might have given up after reading about some of the events in the book, but Paul Hardisty knows how to bring the hardest subjects on and keep you hooked with a perfect balance of action and character development while giving you enough room to think by yourself and imagine. Imagine and try to fathom all that is at stake, all that it takes for men, for soldiers, for humankind, to act the way they do.
Once again, this story is not about broad-shouldered guys and who-can-piss-the-furthest constests. This book is filled with pure and terrific action, putting lives in danger in every chapter without metaphors, without shying away from anything. You’ll feel the sand on your skin, the heat trying to get you down, the sweat clutching on your clothes, you’ll be right there in the middle of nowhere. You’ll try to make sense of something you can never really make sense of. You’ll try to hold on to what you think is right and wrong and those lines will get blurred, buried in the sand. I went through it all and I can only thank the author for the fantastic work shining through every word, every chapter, everything.
This is a difficult book to read, but you reach the other end with a sense of awareness. This is a must-read that will stay with you. Paul Hardisty delivers on every promise with another phenomenal and explosive thriller.
You can find Reconciliation for the Dead in all good bookstores, on Amazon, or on the Orenda Books’ ebookstore
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Orenda Books for the opportunity to work with them.
Want to know more about Paul? Here are 5 Facts About Him he shared with Chocolate’n’Waffles:
#1 French is my first language, the language of my childhood. I am Canadian. When I write, and when I am speaking, there are often times when I know exactly what I want to say in French, but can’t bring up the right word in English. Sometime English just doesn’t cut it. I still read every second novel in French. The last one I read was La Carte et le Territoire by Michel Houellebecq, one of my favourite authors. He’s tough and uncompromising, but brutally honest.
#2 I moved to Western Australia in 2006 with my wife and two sons, from Cyprus. We lived in Cyprus for eight years, where I ran my company’s middle east and Africa business (environmental and water engineering consultancy). I started the company with four friends when I was in my twenties, in Canada, and built it up over 18 years. When we sold the company in 2006 to a big Australian engineering company, we had over a 1000 staff worldwide.
#3 I’ve had my nose broken five times, all in fights. I used to fight a lot, when I was young. Street fighting. I won about half of them. The last one happened on New Year’s eve in Calgary, Canada, in a restaurant. My wife tried to stop the drunk restaurant owner from beating his Asian cook. My wife intervened and threatened to call the police. The guy, enraged, turned on her. I had to put myself between them. The guy charged me and we went through the plate glass window out into the frozen parking lot. He took the worst of the glass on the way out. Outside, he came at me again. I do martial arts so it was over pretty quickly, the guy lying there in the snow leaking blood from a broken nose and glass cuts to his arms. Blood on snow is pretty spectacular. Anyway, I’ve turned this incident into a short story in the new collection I’m working on.
#4 I wrote my first story at 5 years old, on my father’s old typewriter. I think I always wanted to be a writer. At nineteen, enamoured by Hemingway and Lawrence and Balzac, I decided that’s what I would do. I started working hard at it, getting up early, took time off from all the things others thought I should be doing. But it was a disaster. I could write – put the words together on the page – but I had nothing to write about. I didn’t know anything. I hadn’t done anything, gone anywhere. So I decided to get out there and live. Do something I really cared about, something that mattered. I took work in the scariest places I could get, pushed myself into crazy situations, pushed into my fears. Hence the fighting. And then, in 2001, a few glimmers started to appear. By 2010 I had my first novel in some kind of shape. THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING – based on experiences I had in Yemen in 1994 as the civil war erupted. I found an agent, polished the book, and then Karen read it, and I was off and running.
#5 I do long distance triathlon (swim – bike – run), to build toughness and endurance, mental and physical. There is something about pushing those limits of what you think you can do, which I find incredible empowering. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started really writing at about the same time as I started taking triathlon seriously. (Ironman triathlon race: 3.9 km open water swim; 180 km bike, 42.2 km run (marathon), back to back).
You can find Paul Hardisty on Twitter: @Hardisty_Paul
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!