Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love thy Neighbor by Mark Gilleo

Love thy Neighbor, Mark Gilleo. Stamford CT: The Story Plant / The Aronica-Miller Publishing Project, LLC, 2011. e-book, 371 pps.

     Love thy Neighbor was a different sort of book. It took an actual event-- the author's mum suspected that some terrorists were living across the street from her-- and built a story around that. [It turns out that two of the 9/11 hijackers were indeed living across the street from her. Unfortunately the C.I.A. dismissed her phone call, later claiming that it didn't occur]. If you do not read the rest of the book, the "Author's Note" alone makes the price of the book worth it.

     Mark Gilleo's fictional account starts off with a teen stealing a cell phone in Islamabad. From there we meet Clark Hayden, the son of a sort of crazy woman who had called the C.I.A. Clark is a geek who is into robotics. That immediately made the story "cool" to me and I continued to read about his return from a competition.

     From there, the plot flows onward to the introduction of more of the main characters and to the area surrounding Hayden's small town in Virginia. The neighbors across the street do indeed disappear. Hayden and a cute female sidekick begin to investigate because he wants to tell them that their house blew up.

     There is ricin in the story. I had supposed in my youth that castor oil was a product of some sort of swimming fish. Not so. Ricin is the by-product of a bean. That bean is there too, in harvested plants and in seeds.

     The townie patrol cop was pretty cool as a minor character. I'd like to see more of him in a future book along with Clark Hayden and his sexy girlfriend. And the robotics added a sweet touch to it all.

sapphoq reviews says: As improbable as the plot was in places, Love thy Neighbor redeems itself richly by sheer movement from place to place. Violence and murders and stuff blowing up in odd warehouses makes for an interesting tale. Although the dialogue is lacking in some places, I thought this book was worthy of my time. Those who are offended by the conjunction of the word Islam and the word terrorist ought to stay away. For the rest of us, recommended.

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