The story, set in the mid-1980s, follows a former Peace Corps Volunteer who witnesses his wife and drug-dealing brother gunned down on the street in Santa Monica.
Ridgell is an author with a mission. He has composed a travelogue of Micronesia while throwing in some adventure and thrill. The intriguing descriptions of the culture, the politics of several different islands, and living the life of an American in the South Pacific provide a rich tapestry upon which the author weaves his story.
Scott Taylor, a former Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), married an island native. They returned to the U.S. and tried to start a new life there. All these plans were cut short by a drive by shooting aimed at Scott’s brother, and Scott’s wife was killed as collateral damage. Scott’s mind is numb with the pain and loss. He executes the killer who happens to also be the son of a Mafia boss.
Scott runs away from the consequences of his actions and attempts to hide with relatives and friends throughout Micronesia. On the way he rediscovers himself, his love of the islands and the islanders as well.
Although character development is lacking in all but Scott himself, the breathtaking vistas and relaxing island culture make this indeed an odyssey worth following. There is a great development in Scott’s character and maturity as he lucks out time and again in being pursued by various lackeys and hit men.
There are several conversations where philosophies and reasons for service in the Peace Corps; in Micronesia and the effect of American Manifest Destiny on the islanders as a whole are discussed and very reasonable arguments are made.
The secondary characters are present only to fill the space between encounters and personal turmoil that Scott discusses at length. The dialogue is well-carried and required for the ideas presented. The plot primarily supports the travelogue nature of the story.
Recommended for those with a desire to learn about and perhaps travel to Micronesia. Readers should be warned about adult content and discussions.
This review was done by Chris Phillips.