Mexico

Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

There are a lot of plot lines this week. Just about all the major players, in fact, make an appearance.

We visit the Marcos family, where things in Mexico have nearly reached a climax point, and so has the family dynamic.

Elisa, still arousing my suspicions, briefs Petur and paints a picture of dark clouds on the horizon.

Onbacher makes some headway, perhaps, in his search for the Bounty.

The council of oligarchs comes on stage for a short while.

Finally, we see where Jeff Baddori has ended up. There is the potential problem of logic in this part, because it raises some questions that will need some plausible answers. For now, though, it certainly intensifies things.

The three chapters this week bring us perspectives from all the important storylines. Each either establishes something important or moves the plot forward. Most leave the story dangling tantalizingly in the air, waiting for another chapter so we can see what comes next. It is this aspect of the book, the chapter endings, that stand out most. It is what the author has developed the most in his writing technique.

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Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

This week is more about setting things up than reaping payoffs. Onbacher proceeds with his plan to find the Bounty, but that is the only significant plot point in the three chapters. This is not to say that the chapters are skippable, because we catch glimpses of plots and machinations whose culminations will no doubt explode in future chapters, but we do get a little time to catch our breath. There have been some rather kinetic chapters of late, so like a symphony whose music is a contrast of louds and softs, and fasts and slows, and sharps and smooths, we catch our breath and proceed pianissimo, with perhaps one sequence as exception.

There are dark characters lurking on The Island. Hunt once again introduces things slowly, like a tease, as he should. The possibilities are numerous but over the course of the next few chapters we will no doubt start to narrow them down until we find out just what these people are up to.

It bears noting that there has been a lot of reliance on chance partial sightings, conversations improbably overheard, and the like. This technique can quicken the pulse and is often used to get a plot started, or to introduce a twist, but overuse wears out anything. I would hope not to see it used too much more.

We also revisit the Marcos family for another interaction between father and son, one that leaves us more engrossed than it found us. I will say that the removal of one character from the family scenario was a lost opportunity, but there is a hint that she may return. I really want to see more from them.

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Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

This week’s installment has good movement to it. We get three chapters, all of which follow a thread of plot, but from three different perspectives. There are a couple of moments that tantalize us, and we are left with the promise of trouble to come. A good continuation to the story, leaving the reader eager for next Wednesday.

The first chapter is told from Jeff’s perspective. He gets the news that he is cleared to work for The Island, and for Petur specifically. Given Jeff’s background and the forces arrayed against this tropical Galt’s Gulch, there is all kinds of potential there.

Sophia finally lets Jeff in on the details of her work, which is interesting, but best of all, Jeff catches a glimpse of someone we have probably seen before. Someone Petur has seen before, but who has never been identified. A woman of mystery. Further developments await in the following chapters.

Sophia is the point-of-view chapter in the second chapter, and she meets an attractive woman who, we suppose, is the one who has turned up, briefly, before. At this point it is difficult to say whether she is trustworthy or not. She wants to work on The Island, but does not want to get her job the easy way, which would be a guarantee for her. Her approach is curious, her reasons unclear, and it is far from certain whether she is trustworthy or not. My caution alarm is still going off.

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Higher Cause by John Hunt

This review is part of a series covering each installment of the serialized novel Higher Cause, written by John Hunt and published by Laissez Faire Books. To catch up, start with the announcement, the book’s link-rich table of contents, and the first review.

Higher Cause by John Hunt

In week five, we return to the story line of Jeff Baddori, the DEA agent we first met in Mexico. The first of two chapters deals with Jeff’s work in Mexico, now a year in the past. We are privy to a meeting of important figures in that country, one of whom has a grand plan the specifics of which are kept from us. One of the men is a drug dealer whom Jeff had fooled into shutting down his operation. The man, Juan Marcos, is still convinced of Jeff’s loyalty, but another has information for him that may change his mind.

In the next chapter, we join Jeff, who is back to work, this time in Moscow. He is on his way to a meeting with some Mafia members, but his instincts tell him something is wrong. It is, and we wind up with some action to end the scene. As a final bit, we get yet another scene with the mysterious seven, who increasingly strike one as fulfilling some sort of Illuminati function. Their conversation hints at the previous chapter, leaving us with possibilities and wondering whether this is a red herring or not.

The first few chapters of the book seem to have been an extended prologue, of sorts, a way to set us in the time and place and give us some background. After the last installment, with our leap forward, it appears we are into the heart of the story. Already some connections between the story lines have been hinted at, and surely they will grow and evolve in future chapters.

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