The Hard Times.
The Hard Times
Russell Scott, author
Russell Scott Anderson, editor
China Grove Press
9780985267131, $25.00, 230pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Taken from the news, declassified CIA documents, and personal experiences in Africa and Namibia, "The Hard Times" by Russell Scott is a fictional story superimposed on a factually based account of what's happening in the illegal diamond trade, today. It begins in Mississippi. Ray Moffett is an ER doc and Ray is facing an abyss. When his best friend and former partner comes into the Emergency Department dead, six weeks after his retirement party, Ray finds himself thrown into a search for some semblance of meaning in his own life. His conclusions are not encouraging.
For all practical purposes, a white coat is all he has left. Everything else, fallen away, and while medicine is a good thing and medicine is a fine thing, medicine is not a substitute for a life. His marriage gone, he d left his wife, Lisa, for Anne, a young nurse he had thought he was in love with. His children gone, grown, with lives of their own and no time for a father determined to play the fool. And Anne, was gone too, fled when he'd told her he loved her and asked her to leave her husband. She's simply quit her job and moved to another state without a word. Not really the reaction Ray had expected. All Ray had left was work. Work, punctuated only by the occasional round of golf. And that wasn't enough to fill the days he had left until he took his own trip to the grave.
A chance meeting with an African hunting guide, Fritz Dietrich, shows Ray a door. A way to fulfill the adventures he'd dreamed about as a boy. Dreams fueled by the books he d always loved, the stories he d grown up reading. Written by men like Hemingway, Ruark, and Capstick. Unfortunately, Fritz isn't exactly what he seems. His past accomplishments include murder, theft, and running guns across international borders. Wanted in several neighboring countries, Fritz is out of prison only because his older brother, Manfred is the head of security for Namibia s national mining consortium. But, Manfred has problems of his own. He needs to find a way to hide two hundred million dollars worth of illegal diamonds out of Zimbabwe from the United Nations inspectors ... and he's just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Manfred needs Fritz to move the diamonds and Fritz is prohibited from entering the Restricted Zone because of his criminal past ...
Critique: A complex and deftly crafted novel, "The Hard Times" is impressively well written and documents author Russell Scott as a novelist of considerable storytelling talent. Thoroughly absorbing and exceptionally entertaining from beginning to end, "The Hard Times" is recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.