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Ever since the writing team of Canadian lawyers known as Michael Slade broke up leaving just one partner writing with his daughter, the Special X series has suffered from not being quite as accomplished as it once was. Kamikaze however, restores the series back to its former glory of novels such as the original book, Headhunter, which rightly earned a big place in my heart for its gripping plot and ingenious twist!
The plot here alternates between the Pacific war of WWII and modern day Vancouver as a US veteran travels to a conference there as Keynote Speaker. A Japanese Yakuza War-lord, who lost all his family in Hiroshima, has sworn a blood oath to take vengeance on the veteran, who flew in the infamous Enola Gay that dropped the bomb, known as Little Boy, but has not reckoned on the determination of the RCMP, and more importantly Special X, to stop him!
With much of the story being told in flashback, and scenes set both at Pearl Harbour and in the aftermath of Hiroshima's destruction, the book is highly compelling reading that begs the question were America's actions in the Pacific War any better than the actions of those terrorists who flew the planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11? Can such whole scale loss of life and destruction ever be justified? In the wake of information that suggests that Japan was bombed BEFORE EVEN BEING GIVING THE OPTION OF SURRENDER OR WITHOUT ANY TERMS OF NEGOTIATION EVER BEING DISCUSSED, you have to stop and ask yourself what right America had to ever make such a decision! How can such a large scale loss of life, not just at the time but for generations to come as the after-effects of the bomb continued with radiation poisoning ultimately leading to whole families being wiped out long after Ground Zero, ever be considered as justifiable? Why was America allowed to drop not just one BUT TWO Atomic bombs in what amounted to one of the most horrifyingly shocking atrocities of any war then or since!
The sections in Kamikaze that deal with Hiroshima left me feeling disgusted and ashamed even though I am not American because I belong to the descendants of the supposed victors of that war; The Allied Forces! One thing that this book very accurately puts across is that History certainly is written by the winners and I was not expecting when I picked this up this book that it would make me think quite this much! Because of the issues it raises and the moral spin it puts on events all of us take for granted that we know about, that we are taught in school, this book comes highly recommended!
Slade has also written a previous novel to this in the same vein set around Hitler's Bunker called Swastika and if it is anything like this, I cannot wait to read it! Kamikaze is a prime example of Slade at their best and if you only read one of their novels, it should be this one!
If I have one complaint, it is that the part of the plot set in the present is not as strong as the more historical aspects of the story and that a paticular twist at the book's climax is one that this writer has used before (I won't tell you in which book because that would give it away!) but these are mere niggles from a fan who longs to see Slade recapture their glory days! From what I gather the book that follows this is an unfortunate revert to type and though I will read it, I am not expecting the great things I got from this or that I expect to get from Swastika when I read it!