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Book Review: The Unwilling by John Hart

The Unwilling by John Hart


At first I thought, wow, this reminds me of Dennis Lehane or William Kent Krueger (both of whom I like), but having finished it, to be honest, my review for this book could be "It's okay". It started off really well, and I liked the exploration of a family touched so tragically by the Vietnam War, inspired, in part, but real events. However, the story quickly veered in all sorts of different directions and really lost its steam and cohesion for me. I felt there were too many characters for any one to emerge as a real standout, and the scenes in prison felt so cliched and tired, and the torture scenes gratuitous. I also felt there were too many cliches. One that was particularly tedious was the "honorable" gangster, which felt deeply unoriginal and I could not connect to that story-line at all. I do think Hart does a good job setting the scene and he does try to craft a complex, multi-faceted story. For me, however, it just didn't come together successfully. It's not a bad book, but neither is it one I am going to be thinking about a week from now either. Given everything that's going on at the moment, I will say, I am a little distracted and it could be a case of "it's not the book, it's me"...

Thanks to the publisher for supplying me with a copy of The Unwilling in exchange for an honest review.