What the fuck? How did a major publisher not buy this and give it a big media push? Smith said several publishers were interested but passed. Smith was going to try the small press route and went with e-publishing instead.
A snowstorm traffic stop in New Pheasant Run, MN leads to the murder of two police officers. One of those was the pregnant girlfriend of police detective Ray Bleeker. This makes Ray sad and angry. The investigation immediately leads to Adem, a Somali kid and local college student from the Cities. Adem's dad Mustafa shows up, worried about his missing son. Mustafa used to run a violent Somali gang in the Cities until he dropped out of gang life and got a job at Target.
Ray does not trust Mustafa and wants revenge on Adem and Adem's pal, Jibriil. Ray follows Mustafa. Ray rescues Mustafa from a beat-down. Mustafa is convinced to his bones that Adem was not the shooter or an active participant in the cop murders. Ray is on forced vacation - due to his girlfriend's murder - and very reluctantly teams with Mustafa to find out if Adem and his pal Jibriil really left town to fight in Somalia.
Adem did go to Somalia. He wanted to find his roots, follow Islam, and rescue Somalia from warfare. Jibriil wants to kill people, blow shit up, and boss people around. Adem does not fit in. Jibriil fits in and gets promoted.
Ray and Mustafa hits Mustafa's old gang haunts. Mustafa is a walking bulls eye after walking away from gang life. Ray's impatience and arrogance causes friction with Mustafa and trouble with Somali gang dudes. Shootout ensues in Eden Prairie and Ray slightly wounded.
Adem is hot for a local Somali girl. Adem misunderstands Somali Girl and wants to rescue her; you can see the trouble coming. Adem tries to desert. Jibriil saves him from execution and gets him a job as a negotiator between Somali pirates and ship owners.
Ray and Mustafa partner to go to Africa and rescue Adem. Ray just wants to kill Jibriil. Ray cashes in his savings and travels with Mustafa to Somalia. Trouble ensues. More trouble ensues. Bad guy contractors cause trouble. Adem is rescued. Adem demands to return to Mogadishu to rescue Somali Girl. Ray wants to go to Mogadishu to kill Jibriil. Adem is a 19-year-old nitwit. Ray is lost without his girl and job. More trouble ensues. More people die. Ending is slightly happy.
1. On the cover: "Smith writes with force and clarity." What the hell does that mean?
2. Smith really nailed the two setting in MN and Somalia. Adem felt left out as the black immigrant kid in Minneapolis but is completely out of place in bloodthirsty and merciless Mogadishu.
3. The would-be love affair between Adem and Somali Girl is a complete screw up by Adem. He is clueless to the culture clash. Somali Girl used to live in London and Adem cannot understand her adherence to the locals' bat-shit crazy strain of Islam.
4. The mismatch pairing of Mustafa and Ray works very well.
5. There is much more I could write but I won't. This was a very good novel.
6. I liked the Hi-Point insult.