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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
In The Shadow Of War by Patrick M. Garry is an interesting literary fiction novel set against the backdrop of a small community and people dealing with the painful effects of war. It wasn't until the death of his brother that eighteen-year-old Glen Kinsella realized how much he had loved his mentally handicapped sibling. Now he is torn up inside by a debilitating sense of guilt, unable to forgive himself for lost opportunities to show Ricky more love. He and Ricky had always visited the almost deserted village called Corcoran and those visits had been much loved by the residents, mostly composed of women, because the men had gone off to fight in the Vietnam War. Visiting Corcoran with his father to rebuild what they have there felt so idyllic until a disgraced war vet returns with disturbing secrets about the husband of one of the women. The small town is pulled into a whirlpool of political controversy with one woman at its center. Can this distract Glen from his sense of guilt?
Bold and riveting, In The Shadow Of War captures the images of small-town life and the effects of the Vietnam War on that small community while exploring the pain of loss and guilt experienced by a young protagonist. The writing is done in a deft and steady hand, the plot so beautifully imagined and accomplished with unusual skill. Patrick M. Garry writes about the moral and psychological pain of a young man and succeeds in getting readers to feel every emotion with him. Themes of family, social issues, and war are expertly written into the story. In The Shadow Of War is fast-paced and hugely entertaining, a real treat for fans of literary fiction with a solid historical setting.