THE HARDER THEY COME, by T.C. Boyle is a realistic character driven plot centred around three main characters; Sten, Adam and Sara. This is a compelling tale about the relationship between these flawed damaged people, and touches on some complex often contradictory moral issues from various perspectives.
Seventy year old ex-marine, Vietnam veteran Sten is reluctantly hailed a hero when, on vacation to Central America with his wife, he disarms and kills a mugger, one of a gang that has been menacing elderly tourists during group tour stops made in Costa Rica.
Sten is uncomfortable at first with the praise and hero status he receives from his fellow holiday makers and from people when he returns home to Northern California.
Inevitably Sten accepts the complimentary drinks and praises, but then faces the polemic emotional extreme when his own son Adam kills two people.
Sara, a 40 something divorcee, is a believer in the anti authoritarian movement and manages to get herself into trouble with the law on a pretty minor issue, refusing to wear a seat belt. In the process her much loved dog is impounded and she is taken into cells. Upon release she picks up a young hitchhiker, Adam, and rants about the law and how she's going to get her dog back.
Adam, a loner and self trained survivalist in his 20's has serious mental health issues. He calls himself Colter and has adopted the lifestyle of his role model.
Sara's paranoia and Adam's schizophrenia is a volatile mix and as Adam becomes increasingly more unstable and loses his grip on reality. It's only a matter of time before events spiral to an explosive and violent tragedy.
Highly recommended. 'The Harder They Come' left me thinking about things long after turning the final page. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and learned a little about John Colter the original mountain man in the 19th Century. This is my first T.C. Boyle novel but most certainly not my last.
I look forward to recommending 'The Harder They Come' to customers visiting the bookstore.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy from the Publisher via NetGalley for an honest, unbiased review.