Monday, September 4, 2017

Marathon by Brian Freeman

First Sentence:  The backpack is proudly made in the USA.
It is the annual running of the marathon in Duluth but what should be a joyous event becomes deadly when a bomb explodes.  The immediate assumption, promoted by a spectator who swears a Muslim man who bumped into him was the bomber, and an anti-Muslim extremist with a large public following, leads to more deaths.  But what is the truth?  That’s up to Jonathan Stride and his team to find out.
Freeman has given us a book that couldn’t be more relevant.  It is also a book that can be emotionally painful to read.
Each of the characters comes with baggage which often colors their view and informs their actions.  An interesting observation is made as to how young Muslim men can become dissatisfied and, therefore, radicalized—“Drive all day, pray, go to the mosque, share an apartment with four other ex-Pakistanis with similar lives.  Looking back on those days, he understood how young men could go wrong.  He wasn’t starving, but he had no clear purpose, and the purposeless life yearned for any kind of meaning.”  
This is an excellent look at the results of assumptions, ignorance, and prejudice—“A bomb explodes, and Muslims are guilty until proven innocent. …You accuse us of not sharing American values, but at the first sign of trouble, you jettison those values yourself.” As a result, innocent people die. There are lessons to be learned here, including that freedom of speech can be an action with consequences as deadly as a bomb.
Marathon” may be viewed as political but is, in fact, a highly suspenseful, with strong characters and some very good twists.  

MARATHON (Pol Proc-Stride/Dial/Bei-Duluth, MN-Contemp) – VG
      Freeman, Brian – 8th in series
      Quercus – May 2017

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