private security

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

We cruise into chapters 30 and 31 with the most recent offering from Higher Cause. Both chapters take place on The Island. They deal with a couple of different strands of plot. A growing suspicion comes closer to being confirmed.

Enough time has passed to allow Petur and Jeff to fully recuperate from their injuries during the attack on the OTEC. Jeff makes a brief appearance before leaving for other areas of the globe as part of his investigations. Elisa, meanwhile, returns to The Island and Petur grows more and more smitten with her.

Elisa continues to dress as unattractively as she can manage, though Petur can see through it and is pretty sure she could be a knockout if she tried. On a couple of different occasions she is caught by surprise by Petur and quickly adjusts her appearance to minimize her appeal. The reasons for this are still unclear, but Petur has begun to wonder about it. This, coupled with another occurrence, makes me suspicious about her motives, although she has been nothing but helpful to Petur and The Island to date.

The alluring brunette whose pheromones have sunk hooks into Petur is seen again, and by now the faithful reader will probably have a good idea as to who she is. If my hypothesis is right, it only heightens my suspicions. It is a plot thread with a lot of promise.

All in all, another successful bit of work. There is, however, one thing that I have been waiting for and have seen little of so far. The Island seems to be functioning smoothly, with a freed economy that is beginning to heat up. However, there is little mention of how they handle the services that government keeps for itself. How are disputes resolved? How is punishment meted out? How are claims adjudicated? The question of security is not so pressing, because the world already has more private security than government cops, but the question of arbitration and enforcement is altogether different.

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