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On the verge of retirement, Detective Sunderson begins to investigate a hedonistic cult, which has set up camp near his home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At first, the self-declared Great Leader seems merely a harmless oddball, but as Sunderson and his sixteen-year-old sidekick dig deeper, they find him more intelligent and sinister than they realized. Recently divorced and frequently pickled in alcohol, Sunderson tracks his quarry from the woods of Michigan to a town in Arizona, filled with criminal border-crossers, and on to Nebraska, where the Great Leader’s most recent recruits have gathered to glorify his questionable religion. But Sunderson’s demons are also in pursuit of him.
Rich with character and humor, The Great Leader is at once a gripping excursion through America’s landscapes and the poignant story of a man grappling with age, lost love, and his own darker nature.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Craig on 05-15-13
Are you an over-thehill guy with one last mission?
Jim Harrison sneaks into the headspace of middle-aged men whose greatest fears are diminishing libido, loss of purpose, and the death of adventure in their lives. He's is so good at this that readers/listeners of both genders become spectators in the secret rituals of the society of men.
The Great Leader: A faux Mystery messes with our heads. It asks us to make value judgements about his main character, a washed up detective whose last case nags at him like his fears of losing his libido. We don't know whether to cheer for our hero or curse him for his behaviors. But, what we do know is that our personal tolerance for edgy behavior and thinking is questioned by the actions of the protagonist.
You should listen to this book, if nothing else than to test your own values about ethics, sexuality, and justice. Don't be afraid to challenge your core beliefs with this excellent mystery.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Lynda Rands on 01-08-13
Not Harrison's best
I love Jim Harrison's work. His novellas (especially Revenge and Legends of the Fall) are some of the best things I have ever read. The latter book packs three generations of action into about 150 pages. His writing is consistently strong and he moves the story forward with every sentence. But not in this book. The Great Leader struck me as a little more than a rumination on growing old and it wore me out in about two chapters. What action there is comes between large chunks of the main character talking to himself. The narrator did a workmanlike job but there was not a lot to work with here.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful