Mike Miner’s new release, Hurt Hawks from One Eye Press Singles, is a vehicle that allows Miner to demonstrate how adept he is at mixing a war story with a nice slice of noir. He does this seamlessly and with an eye to entertaining the reader throughout this fast paced novella.
Chris Rogers has returned from war a different man than he was when he left his wife to go fight for his country. After taking a bullet to his spine, he returns home without the use of his legs. This tragic injury stole from him the life he knew and the life he envisioned with his wife and his newborn son.
He has a small shop that he runs, but things take a turn for the worse when the representative for a local gangster attempts to shake Chris down for protection money. Chris stands up for himself, but is killed in the process. His wife is left to mourn him and wonder what she will do next. Before he died, Chris had given his wife a business card with an important number on it, with the simple instructions to call the number if anything ever happened to him.
The number connects her with a group of men that were in the war with Chris. Although they didn’t know Chris formally, they have spent the past few years thinking of him, because he saved their life just moments prior to taking the bullet to his back. Their feelings of guilt over how they left the war free men able to do whatever they wanted to do, while Chris left the war in a wheelchair prison, push them to seek revenge in Chris’ honor.
The men arrive at Chris’ funeral looking for answers, revenge, and self-salvation. They will not stop until they achieve all their goals and they aren’t afraid to push until they get what they came for.
The greatest strength of this well-written novella is Miner’s ability to force his characters’ emotions onto the reader. There were many times during reading this book that I felt as if I became one with the characters and I could feel their pain, sorrow, and anger. When a writer can elicit that type of reaction, you have found not only a great book, but a strong writer with a limitless future.
This book is a great mix of a crime and a war novel, but the underlying themes of redemption and validation are what raised this book far above the typical books being published.
Review by Derrick Horodyski