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There are suspects, however. And Charlie Hart, a clean-cut FBI agent in the all-American mode, is on the trail of three: Lakota John Brown Dog, an otherworldly whore, and "the grandfather," who's in contact with a shadowy but powerful group known as the allies.
And matters only get scarier for America after the arch is damaged...the four stone presidents on Mount Rushmore come under an attack that a hundred armed agents and a dozen assault helicopters are powerless to stop...then it's on to a second battle of the Little Bighorn. The white man's civilization ends with a lone wolf howling in the desolate forests of Manhattan.
The "force majeure" behind these events is ghost dancing, which began in 1890 as a promise to Indians that America's original illegal aliens -- the Europeans and their descendants -- could be eradicated without war, without killing. How this promise can be fulfilled more than a hundred years later, in present-day America, is one of the compelling mysteries at the heart of "Facing Rushmore."
Martin's ten novels have given him a cult following. His thriller, "Lie to Me, " and his eccentric love story, "The Crying Heart Tattoo, " are adored by fans worldwide. But "Facing Rushmore" is in a class by itself. The novel's unforgettable characters dare to consider a provocative question in the post-9/11 world: Can the technological power of the United States, a power that has dominated the world, be overwhelmed by a superior "spiritual" force?
"Facing Rushmore" will thrill and provoke readers. It's a history lesson, a page-turner, and one hell of a journey. If you're a Martin fan, the good news is: He's back. If this is your first trip with him, get ready for the ride of your life.
This land is your land
David Lozell Martin's 11th novel is a marvelously over-the-top vehicle for his outspoken views on subjects as diverse as Native American sports mascots ("Can you imagine a football team named the San Francisco Chinks? The Philadelphia Wops?"); obese middle-aged tourists; and the U.S. waste of oil. His narrator, John Brown Dog, is part of a group of Native Americans plotting to destroy St. Louis' Gateway Arch and Mount Rushmore, both of which are seen as monuments to Europe's conquest of North America.
Charlie Hart, the FBI agent assigned to stop the Indians' offensive, listens to Brown Dog's story and his litany of all the wrongs committed against the Indians by whites over the last four centuries or so. (He compares the annihilation of Indians to the genocide of Jews, and the massacre at Wounded Knee to the bombing at Oklahoma City.) When asked what they are seeking, Brown Dog responds that they want the return of all the national parks and forests. They want to see how Yellowstone would rebound if it were left alone for 500 years, without roads, hotels and concessions. They want to leave the oil in the ground.
If their demands are not met, the Indians will use their supernatural powers, already in evidence in the mysterious black ooze that coated the Arch and engulfed the presidential heads, with dire consequences for the white population. The Native ANmericans would eventually be re-established as the earth's sole inhabitants.
The author ratchets up the suspense in the final chapters, drawing the reader into this race for survival, with agent Hart caught between reality and where his sympathies now lie. Martin's latest offering reads like a thrillera provocative oneas he engages the reader on a myriad of issues, and has a good time doing it.
Deborah Donovan writes from Cincinnati and La Veta, Colorado.