Book Review for Ghosts and Shadows by H. Max Hiller
FEBRUARY 13, 2018ROBINGOODFELLOW12
Ghosts and Shadows, by H. Max Hiller, is a mystery about the arrogance of cultivating lambs to the slaughter, as well as the consequences of what happens when one lamb goes astray.
Cooter “Cadillac” Hooter is called to investigate a string of mysterious fires that have baffled police. After realizing that the fires are connected to a string of alleged gang activity, Cadillac is then called to meet the Deputy of Homeland Security. When he is warned to leave things alone, Cadillac ignores these orders and becomes embroiled in a scandalous nightmare where a monstrous bloodbath slowly begins to unfold before him. It’s a race against time as Cadillac endeavors to uncover the mystery behind these killings, and unveil the corruption that lies behind the facade of America’s finest.
I loved how Hiller incorporated historic events into the story, and showed just how complicated these conflicts are. From the combined efforts against the “War on Terror” and the “War on Drugs”, to the difficulties New Orleans was going through after Hurricane Katrina, it’s a wonderful amalgam of inevitabilities that allowed Hiller to masterfully tie this story together. I especially enjoyed reading about how Cadillac operated within this world. His instincts and protectiveness of his loved ones clearly take precedence despite his past, and while I can’t call him a traditional hero or detective, he nevertheless illustrates that in his eyes, justice always prevails. He seems to thrive where most other people have given up, and has gone where even other soldiers dare not tread.
But however noble these characteristics may be, Cadillac does show that sometimes, it’s better to just leave things alone. While the public may want to have access to this sort of information, the problem is the questions thereafter. Do we want to know the atrocities our soldiers have committed for the sake of our freedoms? Should we risk persecuting our heroes for the sake of learning the truth? Are we better off just not knowing? After all, I believe that the cruelest thing you can do is lie to someone. Then of course, I am just one person trying to live a simple life, so for the moment, my thoughts shouldn’t matter, at least in this regard.
One of the more prominent themes I’ve noticed in the book is how far someone is willing to go to have what they desire. Kinkaid was willing to kill, if only to bring an end to the cartels. Richard Franklin was going down a destructive chasm of mischief and madness, though whether to show off or care for his grandmother is debatable. Even Cadillac seemed to wonder about himself at times, putting himself in danger that may or may not benefit anyone. Hiller succeeds in trying to establish the murky boundaries between good and evil, and it’s this aspect of the story I thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, I would give this book a 4.4 out of 5 stars. Hiller excels in crafting a dark mystery filled with corruption and forebodance. The fires, the bodies, and the lies play a part in shaping the horrifying justice we all “adore” today. Thus, I would recommend this book to fans of Flash Blood by Joseph Hirsch and Gastric Bypass by Paul Lesko.