Friday, August 2, 2013

Stefan Kanfer's The Eskimo Hunts in Miami Blog Tour with Guest Post

I don’t find the title “thriller” a comfortable one. It seems to me to carry with it a vaguely patronizing air, along with the implied question, “Why don’t you write something serious?” Graham Greene was affected by this bias early on; he called his highly suspenseful novels “entertainments.” Later he came to his senses and let those works stand with the rest of his oeuvre.

There are, of course, thrillers and thrillers. I’ve always enjoyed Eric Ambler’s adventures in and around the Balkans of yore, for example; but have no patience with the Gang-of-Megalomaniacs-Who-Want-To-Take-Over-The-World as expressed over and over again by Robert Ludlum and his many imitators.

Just as the detective story was considered déclassé until Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler showed how artful and enlightened the genre could be, writers like David Cornwell (John Le Carre) and Frederick Forsythe and Ken Follette took the spy novel from the Dayglo territory of Ian Fleming and infused it with subtle colors, a new realism and a weary dignity. The thriller, when it’s plausible, when the wrongdoers are all too real (without being the standard movie villains: mad-dog terrorists), when the protagonist does not have Kevlar skin and unfailing luck with a series of pneumatic ladies, something quite interesting can happen, in a literary as well as a story-telling sense.

To that end, I’ve concentrated on a member of a truly global minority. Jordan Gulok is an Inuit, more commonly known as an Eskimo, Asiatic in appearance, tough, intelligent, but not conventionally handsome or as tall and wide as an NFL linebacker. He has come from one of the most demanding territories on earth, however — the Antarctic — and adversity is something he has known since childhood. Like most Eskimos he was a highly skilled hunter with firearms as well as other implements. But from the beginning he was something more: he was curious about the world beyond the Inuit village.

After winning a scholarship to Alaska University, Jordan was introduced to books, paintings, music — and co-eds. His amiability, his intelligence and athletic prowess caught the attention of the Navy SEALS, who recruited him. After ten years of service in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Pentagon officials gave him a new assignment. He was given a medical discharge from the Navy, because of Post Traumatic Syndrome. That discharge was bogus - -a set-up, carefully planned and executed. Jordan Gulok was still a SEAL, but an undercover one, furnished with false ID cards, operating independently. If emergencies arose — and they always did — he could act on his own, breaking and entering, counter-attacking, infiltrating, reporting back to headquarters, but giving the Pentagon plausible deniability when things went awry — as they always did.

About the Books:

Jordan Gulok debuts in The Eskimo Hunts in New York. Manhattan lies under a heavy quilt of snow and ice; the traffic is hopelessly snarled, the subways, buses, police cars and fire trucks stranded. But Jordan has no trouble with severe winters. The Inuit grew up in worse weather than this; when the police and FBI are stymied, he moves with grace and determination, taking on an international ring dealing with contraband — and toxic — pharmaceuticals. This part was not fiction; illegitimate “medicines” have been made in Russia, the Far East and even the U.S., then peddled on five continents as panaceas for diseases they cannot cure, or even alleviate.

In The Eskimo Hunts in Miami, Jordan leaves the New York winter for an unaccustomed heat and a very different kind of enemy — an army of Cuban exiles with an idée fixe: the taking back of the Caribbean island, a strategy that involves murder of American soldiers, raids on army forts, the suborning of diplomats, and the risk of an international incident that could trigger yet another war. It’s the sort of situation that not many — even Navy SEALS — would choose to face alone. But for Jordan, going solo has become a way of life and, in truth, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails