19 September 2012

Review: The Reunion by Dan Walsh

Aaron Miller, a Vietnam veteran who is estranged from his family, lives and works in Bentley’s Trailer Park & Campground. Billy Ames is a Vietnam veteran who sits in his trailer and contemplates suicide. Karen Miller is a single woman who struggles to connect with men, perhaps because her father left their family after returning from Vietnam.

Dave Russo is a journalist whose father died in Vietnam. He is currently researching a book about the war, his own way of honouring the veterans who had the misfortune to fight in a war that America didn’t win. As part of his research, he contacts millionaire John Lansing, who tells him an amazing story about how he and two friends were rescued by a man who later won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. John commissions Dave to find their rescuer – Aaron Miller.

The first few chapters were from the viewpoints of Aaron and Billy, and were a little slow and, frankly, a bit depressing. But then we got a chapter from Karen Miller, the daughter Aaron hasn't seen for twenty years. And (despite the fact that the scene is a bad blind date) the tone is quite different, more upbeat. I always admire writers that can make you feel the differences between the characters by the way they adjust their style, and shows how well-written The Reunion is. I did have a few issues with the writing – there seemed to be times when the viewpoint wasn’t clear, but on the whole, it was very good.

I’m not American (so don’t have quite the same cultural background as these characters) and I don’t really do ‘war stuff’ but I thought The Reunion was an excellent way to honour those who sacrificed so much for a foreign country half a world away. The ending, in particular, tugs at the heartstrings, and I really liked the way everything came together (and the nice romantic sub-plot). Worth reading.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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