A Thousand Bayonets Reviewed

I first saw a blurb about A Thousand Bayonets on the Internet. Not many thrillers are set in I in the artificial concrete environment I live in, and I tried to request a copy from the local library system. It didn’t have a listing for A Thousand Bayonets or its author, Joel Mark Harris. So I sent him an email and said a novel set in Vancouver and written by a Vancouver author should be in the Vancouver library, and suggested he contact the acquisitions department.

I thought that would be the end of it. But it wasn’t. Joel Mark Harris replied, said I was right, and asked if I would like an autographed copy of A Thousand Bayonets. The obvious answer to that was: Yes.

An autographed copy landed in my mailbox a couple of days after the Easter holidays. At the time I didn’t know Joel Mark Harris had sent out 300 copies in Goodread’s Free Book program, or that he had a background in public relations. But that doesn’t matter. I regarded it as an act of goodwill. All he asked was that I like A Thousand Bayonets’s facebook page. This blog review was written of my own volition.

Returning home from the war in Afghanistan, John Webster, investigative reporter, following up on a tip finds himself literally in the middle of an explosive crime scene. To the police and media, and John himself, it appears to be a gangland hit in a war between criminal gangs.

Despite haunting flashbacks from Afghanistan, a personal life in disarray, subpoenas from the police and threats on his life, John’s journalistic instincts, honed in war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Congo, lead him – not unerringly – to the perpetrators, and help him survive his ordeals. Ordeals those same instincts are partially responsible for, by prompting him to take dangerous – some would say foolish – risks, often while drinking too much.

The major characters in A Thousand Bayonets are believable and interesting, and Joel Mark Harris develops them skillfully. His narrative style is simple and direct, and there is enough action to keep the reader’s interest alive and thriving – and to make a movie. That is not coincidental. Joel Mark Harris is a screenwriter and producer, in addition to being a journalist and novelist.

Production is underway on the movie version of A Thousand Bayonets. Joel Mark Harris’s first production, Neutral Territory, has won 10 awards and 15 nominations, from showings in 23 film festivals.

The trailer for the book, radio and television interviews, photographs and a video about making the movie trailer, and other good stuff can be found on A Thousand Bayonets facebook page.