My Review of Fellow Finalist Dave Edlund’s Guarding Savage
A few weeks ago, I shared the still-unbelievable-to-me news that Tiger Drive has been nominated for IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Award. There are three other finalists, and I keep pinching myself when I see Tiger Drive listed with their books. Naturally, I’m reading all three.
Last week I shared my review of Rob Hiaasen’s Float Plan. Spoiler Alert: I loved it. You can read the review here. Some pretty incredible things happened as a result of this review, but I’ll share the details in next week’s newsletter when I have more time and after I return from the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award ceremony on April 5th.
The other two stellar books are Guarding Savage: A Peter Savage Novel by Dave Edlund and Better Than This by Cathy Zane.
I finished Guarding Savage yesterday. Before I share my review, here is the description of Guarding Savage as shared on Amazon.
Following the brutal abduction of a friend, Peter is drawn into a sinister scheme, fueled by century-old animosity, which threatens peace in the Pacific.
In the East China Sea, Japanese and American warships on scheduled training exercises are attacked without warning and sunk by a hypersonic weapon for which there seems to be no defense. The U.S. Government receives an anonymous message: withdraw all military forces from Southeast Asia or suffer total destruction of the Seventh Fleet.
Meanwhile, a young woman named Jade is viciously attacked in Bend, Oregon. She narrowly escapes harm when Peter steps in to protect her from the would-be kidnappers. But the threat persists when others are sent to complete the job.
When Peter is summoned to Brunei, he unearths dangerous secrets–secrets aimed at neutralizing the threat posed by Peter and Jade while ushering in a new world order.
Guarding Savage is classified as the following three genres on Amazon: Political Thrillers & Suspense; Assassination Thrillers; Military Thrillers.
This is the first time I’ve read any of these genres. The closest I’ve gotten is probably John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 (Sonchai Jitplecheep Series).
So Guarding Savage . . . when words fail me, I resort to GIFs:
Holy Cow! This is a fast-paced novel. My eyes were tripping over my fingers, as I swiped the ebook pages. It’s a good thing my hands were occupied, I would have chewed all my fingernails off.
This novel is filled with so many intricate historical, cultural, military, and political details, it’s staggering, but in all the frigging right ways. By the time I finished this novel, I was convinced I was smarter.
And more compassionate.
Because Guarding Savage is so much more than a political, assassination, or military thriller, it’s a thought-provoking novel about how historical atrocities, especially those that are unacknowledged or carried out by the unrepentant, can fuel more atrocities.
Dave Edlund says it best, “Those scars never fully healed – instead, they festered as time passed.” (loc. 4102)
And yet, with his detailed and clever writing, Dave Edlund also creates hope and empowerment with this novel. I don’t want to say more and spoil the ending.
Now is a good time to mention that the main character, Peter, has a best friend. He’s a pit bull terrier named Diesel. My latest novel, In the Doghouse, has Skip, a Timber Wolf/Labrador mix as the main character. Skip would want to hang with Diesel.
Two things from a craft perspective. First, while this book is part of a series, it stands on its own. I want to read the rest of the series, but it’s not necessary to understand this book. Secondly, I’m in awe of the research done for this novel and how the author kept the plot and story straight for the reader. I imagine Dave Edlund working something like this:
Whereas if I had tried to write this story, my board would have looked like this:
For this reader, Guarding Savage was a complete escape. It was fantabulous, and I’m honored to have Tiger Drive nominated alongside Dave’s work.
I am currently 46% through fellow finalist Cathy Zane’s Better Than This. I’ll be sharing a review this week, but I’ll give you a hint.
I know what I’m doing the rest of today.
Thanks for being you, IBPA, Dave Edlund and Cathy Zane. And dear readers, you make this all worthwhile. Thank you for being YOU!