Terminal Island by John Shannon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"Terminal Island" is my fifth book by John Shannon. I liked the previous four quite a lot (two four-star ratings and two three-star ones). Alas, I do not like this one. This novel is cooked in a smarmy sauce of utmost Political Correctness. I happen to deeply believe in the idea of equality of all races, but I cannot stand when someone tries to clumsily ram it down my throat. Even the most profound and beautiful ideas get cheapened when they are ineptly promoted. And in this book Mr. Shannon displays ineptness with a capital “I”.
The whole thread that involves Maeve’s (Jack Liffey’s daughter) friendship with Ornetta and with Jack’s father sounds as though it has been taken out of a children's book written to promote diversity. Noble goal, lame approach. The thread of Gloria Ramirez, a native American cop, is also crudely handled.
Furthermore (and this is my private, subjective pet peeve), the whole samurai thing, the honor stuff, the Bushido code are ridiculous. I do not want to waste time on this. As Jack Liffey says himself “it’s part of a world that’s gone”.
On the positive side, what Mr. Shannon delivers in this novel is an uncannily accurate (as usual) portrayal of the L.A. metropolis. This time, it is San Pedro and vicinity, including, of course, Terminal Island.
Also, a great quote about a SWAT team: “the American metaphor: overequipped and underbrained”. And the ending is sort of hilarious, in a rather cruel way.
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