Friday, January 22, 2010

Gorgeous East-Robert Girardi

Gorgeous East
Robert Girardi
St. Martin’s, Oct 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312565862

American actor John Smith is in Istanbul to persuade his former girlfriend to drop the rich Turk and return to him. His endeavor has nothing to do with love and romance, as he has other motives, but his efforts lead to her murder and he joins the French Foreign legion. French-Canadian Evariste Pinard is given the choice between a long jail sentence for drug dealing and mob enforcement or joining the French Foreign Legion; he voluntarily enlists. French aristocrat Colonel Philippe de Noyer looks forward to turning the dregs of society like Smith and Pinard into a powerful fighting force.

In Western Sahara, the self-proclaimed prophet Al-Bab leads a rebellion with his bee stinging Marabouts attacking a legion outpost. He captures the American comedic-musical performer and the Quebec Russian Mafiosi among others. Whereas Morocco and Saharoui Arab Democratic Republic leaders yawn with the latest Imam allegedly rising in the desert, the Legionnaire officers take the Marabouts’ attack personally and send madman Pinard to lead the counter insurgency with instructions to rescue the legionnaire prisoners at any cost.

This is an extremely dark comedic thriller that takes the “values” of the nineteenth century French Foreign Legion and brings them forward to the twenty-first century while ignoring much of what occurred since WW II. The story line is bloody, gory, and bloody with many heads rolling, literally. This is not for the squeamish. Readers who relish an exceedingly over the top of an unnamed Moroccan plateau, bleak with no beau gesture of redemption, will want to read this satire of the West still intruding in Islamic African politics.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: