ISBN #: 978-1466482036
Page Count: 462
Copyright: January 25, 2012
(Taken from Amazon)
Newly divorced and with two grown kids off to pursue their Naval careers, all Dr. Raymond Silver wanted to do was move on with his life as peacefully as he could. But unanswered questions, guilt, and an unfulfilled desire to carry on a family tradition to serve his country gnaw away at him. When he sets out on a personal quest to atone for his past and validate his existence, he never imagined that he would be the catalyst for three others longing to do the same. As his life becomes intertwined with a young marine biologist, a nurse and an elderly veteran, this 45 year old "average Joe" chiropractor battles with bureaucrats at the local veterans hospital, becomes the love interest of two beautiful women, and finds himself on a 60 year old naval relic sailing for the Philippines, an accidental key player in a CIA operation to stop a terror group from unleashing a nuclear holocaust.
The novel follows Ray Silver, a chiropractor living in the Seattle, Washington area, and focuses on several aspects of his life: his job at the VMC - he is not well-received at this position and is shunned by most of the staff, with the exception of Stella, a nurse, and Abner the custodian. The second storyline is about Ray's relationship with Leigh Anne, a younger woman he first encounters in Hawaii. Finally, the story focuses on his work restoring the 776, an old war ship, similar to the one his father served on during WWII, and uncovering a plot by some former FBI agents involving another war ship.
At first, these three storylines seemed disconnected, and I kept wondering, WHAT is this story about? Where is it going? I liked the character of Ray so I was willing to go along for the ride to find out.
The moral of the story can be summed up in the words of Ray himself: "A friend of mine once told me that when it comes down to it a man has to be able to look at himself in the mirror, and therefore it was in his eyes that he was his own redeemer."
Several characters are looking for redemption in this story, perhaps all of them are in some way or another. Ray, who was rejected for military service though he comes from a long line of those who served, is determined to aid his country in any way he can. Leigh Anne has some dark skeletons in her closet from her time in Hawaii. Stella was blacklisted at her past job for confronting a doctor about stealing meds. Ray's father was never given proper recognition for his heroism in the war. The list goes on.
About 2/3 into the story, it's clear that Ray is going to get into the middle of the FBI agent war ship thing and his life will be in danger. "I got a bad feeling about this," said the Han Solo voice in my head.
The author tries to capture some regional dialect, such as the Hawaiian slang (or whatever it is) that Leigh Anne occasionally throws into her speech. She'll call someone "bruh" -- which seems odd for a grown woman anyway, Hawaiian-born or not. Also, Abner's dialogue reminds me of how Mark Twain would portray his slave characters. It was borderline offensive. Yes, Abner is African American, and has a twang in his speech, but I think it detracted from the story, and the character himself, to have his speech be so exaggerated.
I was satisfied with the way the book wrapped up, and finally it all came together. I think Mr. Levine deftly handled the character development, and had an interesting way of telling this story.