From the war-torn jungles of Vietnam to the dangerous streets of Oakland, Hanson searches for his own truth within while trying to make sense of the world around him.
Set in 1983, Hanson, a former Special Forces sergeant in Vietnam, leaves a teaching position in Idaho for a more dangerous career as an Oakland police officer in California. Having been to hell in back more than once in his life, Hanson walks around with no fear whatsoever. He never expected to make it back from the war and made his peace with that. Now, he doesn’t much care if he lives or dies. Either way, he’s already made it longer than he ever expected to.
While that way of thinking is depressing at times, it’s also freeing as Hanson adjusts to his new career as a beat cop. The streets he walks on are dangerous and are ruled by a man named Felix Maxwell, the drug kingpin who runs the local scene in Oakland.
Much of the book covers Hanson’s first year on the job after making it through police academy, where he was heavily encouraged to quit. At first, he’s jerked around by fellow cops. Eventually, though, the games get old, because Hanson never really fights back. His non-confrontational style lends itself to the people he serves. And Hanson openly thinks of himself as an armed social worker. Readers follow him as he makes connections and bonds with people on his beat, including a young boy named Weegee, getting to know the streets with him day after day. Eventually, a string of rather abstract incidents and occurrences weave themselves together in a way that reveals a large plot lurking beneath the surface.
Personally, I see a lot of Martin Riggs, one half of the buddy-cop duo in the Lethal Weapon movies (portrayed by Mel Gibson), in Hanson. The war veteran turned veteran cop who doesn’t care about life or death and goes out of his way to do his job isn’t necessarily a new concept for a character. We’ve seen it before, but Kent Anderson puts his own twist on things and manages to keep it fresh. The story moves at a slower pace, which is by design, and is character-driven. Those who like smart, slow-burn thrillers that require a bit of thought and depth will eat this one up. . . while those who like action and fast-moving plots may struggle with the pacing and Anderson’s style of storytelling.
Dark, gritty, and rife with conflict, Kent Anderson’s latest is a powerful, deeply moving novel that asks some difficult questions. . . give it time to develop, because once it does, Green Sun really delivers.
Author: Kent Anderson
Series: Hanson #3
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck is the editor-in-chief of The Real Book Spy, and one of the thriller genre’s most well-recognized critics. He currently lives in southwest Michigan with his wife and their five children. For more information, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook!