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by Ross Thomas
St Martin's Minotaur, March 2004
288 pages
ISBN: 0312327048

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Captain Edd 'Twodees' Partain is having a rough Christmas. He has been fired from his job working in a gun store because Colonel Millwed informed his boss about his past military experience. Partain was engaged in dangerous and slightly illegal activities during his years of service.

The fact that the military endorsed his activities is moot. Partain did make the mistake of striking Millwed, a commanding officer, and that is where all of his problems began. Upon being fired from the gun shop, Partain calls a friend at VOMIT - Victims of Military Intelligence Treachery - to look for a job. VOMIT is composed of ex-military personal who are no longer in the service, who feel betrayed by the military and are unable to get jobs for whatever reason.

VOMIT leads him to Millicent Altford. Altford helped raise a lot of campaign money for the Little Rock People but someone has stolen $1.2 million from her secret, almost clean, stash. She wants Partain to act as a bodyguard until she can track down the responsible party. This is somewhat burdensome simply because she is hiding out in a hospital in hopes that the Little Rock People do not make her an ambassador or choose to reward her in any other undesirable way. When someone tries to kill Altford and starts killing the people in her life, Partain will use all of his knowledge and skills to protect her and her family.

As always Ross Thomas knows how to tell a good story. The story moves along quickly and it becomes vital for the reader to find out how it all ends. In AH TREACHERY! Thomas takes on the concept of military lies and unsavory political actions. It is interesting that Thomas chooses to investigate military activities that are not part of a specific war. The topic of Vietnam is frequently used in books and provides a certain set of thoughts and opinions that Thomas chooses to ignore.

The characters in AH TREACHERY! are interesting. The protagonist of the book, Partain, seems unemotional about what happens to him. While most people would be furious if they were unjustly fired, Partain accepts it as merely a part of life. However, he is by no means oppressed by society or his experiences; he just seems to realize that he cannot change everything in life.

This characteristic is the one thing all of Thomas' protagonists have in common. The women in this book are typical Thomas characters as well. Overall they are normal people but they all have strange quirks. For example, one of the women invites her father's murderer to speak at his funeral. I do not think that Thomas includes these examples to demonstrate that women are unstable or unbalanced, but merely to demonstrate that he does not understand them in real life.

AH TREACHERY! is Ross Thomas' 25th -- and final -- book.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, April 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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