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A peaceful valley in the mountains of Colorado becomes a battleground pitting the federal government against a rural sheriff's department. Beleaguered Sheriff Bear Ellison finds himself outnumbered, over-matched, and increasingly isolated as he is forced to decide between risking his life protecting a local hero, or reneging on his oath and handing him over to federal prosecutors.
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By Michael Ackerson on 09-24-17
An awesome ride
As the federal government seeks to reopen the War on Drugs, Oathkeeper feels very timely. Set in Colorado, a small town sheriff finds himself in the crosshairs of a corrupt federal official. A David-VS-Goliath showdown is brewing, and right from the start things don’t look very good for our heroes. Given the fact that Oathkeeper is published by a company called Prepper Press, you can imagine what kind of position the book takes, but don’t let that fool you - Oathkeeper is a great ride that will keep you guessing right up until the very end.
Fans of Quentin Tarantino will feel right at home here. Oathkeeper has a grit to it, and it does it well - finding its footing somewhere between No Country for Old Men and Reservoir Dogs. Troy Grice has put together a world that will feel instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent time in an impoverished rural community. Grice has no problem heading headlong into the brutal results of drug addiction and crippling poverty facing small towns struggling to exist as a world apathetic to their existence passes them by.
There is a lot of moral ambiguity in Oathkeeper, and it pairs well with Grice’s language which ranges from almost pastoral descriptions to cartoon violence. Grice’s characters and locations have history, good, bad and random and that gives them welcome depth. Are there good guys in Oathkeeper? Yeah, I suppose so. Are there bad guys? Yeah, I guess. However, one of the most refreshing parts about Oathkeeper is that it also has a lot of middle ground, and it doesn’t go out of its way to hold your hand about it.
Grice also sets up one of the most entertaining uses of Chekhov's gun - in the form of an armored all-terrain vehicle equipped with a massive cannon - that I’ve seen in a long while. It’s introduced in the very first chapter and readers are left guessing “are we going to see the tank?” - and while I won’t say exactly when that happens, I will say that it was supremely satisfying.
Gabriel Zacchai’s narration is pitch perfect. He switches back and forth between dramatization and narration perfectly, keeping welcome pace with the tempo of the book. Fans of storytelling and of the oral tradition are in for a treat with this book's production.
At the end of the day, how you feel about this book may be determined by how you feel about the War on Drugs, however, I’d urge you to give it a shot regardless of your opinion on that front. Oathkeeper is smart, and there is plenty here to like - you’re in for a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
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