Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Down the way where the lights are gay...I took a trip on a sailing ship." Song Lyrics

In Elmore Leonard's new novel, he writes of Somalia pirates and life in the Djibouti area.
Dara Barr has been an award winning filmmaker. She reads about the Somalia pirates becoming more brazen and decides to do a documentary about them.
She is accompanied by a philosophical cameraman and confidante, Xavier LeBo, who stands six foot six and is a virorous seventy-two years old.
Dara and Xavier travel to Djibouti, in Northeast Africa, a country bordering Somalia. She views the pirates as the underdogs. These people have an average income of under $1,000. and have high malnutrition and mortality. However, they are brave enough to attempt to stop the massive tankers crossing their waters.
In their search, Dara and Xavier meet various people, none of whom seem to be what they appear, at first glance. There is a wealthy Texan, Billy Wynn, who lives on his yacht. His companion is Helene, a former model, who he promises to marry if she's proven acceptable by not becoming seasick or restless on the yacht. Billy has another side to him in reference to his dealings with the pirates and al Qaeda terrorists.
Xavier introduces Dara to her first pirate, a likable man named Idris. Idris is now retired and drives his Mercedes as a status symbol. He tells Dara that he can introduce her to other pirates and one of his friends is Jama, an African American al Queda Muslim, who becomes a cold hearted killer and wants to make a statement by setting off an explosive bomb.
The story was interesting and the characters were certainly different. It was bothersome how Dara could be so accepting of people who were going around killing others. Xavier is a colorful character and one who would remain in the reader's mind into the future.
I think that readers will enjoy this story telling a part of the Somalia philosophy that is not highly publicized. The pacing was well done and the dialogue masterful.
Please check out my amazon review and if you agree, please indicate that the review was helpful.

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