Friday, August 12, 2022

The Kills by Richard House


The Middle East.  An explosion happens, killing one person.  But this is not on the battlefield.  Sutler, the man in charge of turning a burn pit facility into a planned city after the war, was told to come to headquarters to get the money to start his project.  But then he was told something had gone awry and he needed to get away.  Sutler goes on the run.

A shadowy American corporation works in the Middle East and other war-torn areas, fulfilling military contracts.  With such work, cash often changes hands and cash often disappears.  The word is out after Sutler disappears that he stole and has with him fifty-three million dollars in cash.  Is this true?  Why does no one know about the burn pit?  Why are the workers assigned there unable to claim compensation for the diseases they are bringing back after their work?

As Sutler tries to make his way back home, he travels under the name of Ford.  He has identification in this name.  He falls in with a group of filmmakers and journalists who are in the country making a film about a murder described in a book that is a literary sensation.  One of the group falls into infatuation with Ford and disappears after Ford rebuffs him.  Ford is left without the account numbers where the money resides which he noted in the young man's notebook.  Who will end up with the money?

This epic work was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013.  It is a challenge to read with over a thousand pages and many stories which eventually all come together to solve the various mysteries laid out in the book.  Government and military corruption is explored and readers will be reminded of recent stories of corporations that make a fortune from government and military contracts with little or no regard for the workers that depend on them for their livelihood.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

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