Sheriff Rick Johnson has two problems: his present, and his past. Now that he’s safely home from a tour of duty in the Middle East, he’s settled into small-town life in Resurrection, Colorado. Even in that one-horse town, though, his memories intrude, haunting him even as the here and now demands his attention. In Jeff Gunhus’s latest thriller, Resurrection America, Rick squares off with a billionaire whose mining operation threatens to turn Resurrection into a ghost town.
Gunhus, a USA Today bestselling author, spins an extremely satisfying, high-stakes tale of the modern West. Within a few paragraphs, Resurrection America is primed and traveling at top speed. Rick is the perfect hero for this thriller—both a defender of American values and someone who’s suffered from his willingness to serve.
Frequent flashbacks to his time overseas give deep insight into Rick’s character: “He closed his eyes and, just that fast, he was standing in a farmer’s field in Afghanistan, the faceplate of his bio-chem suit fogging up as he spun in a circle, surrounded by dead livestock in every direction.” After his harrowing time as a soldier, why does Rick still feel duty-bound to protect Resurrection?
Themes of patriotism, homeland, and justice are threaded through Resurrection America, giving this classic thriller depth. Gunhus’s descriptions are vivid and gripping, especially when he takes on Rick’s perspective. Tired of seeing “America rot from the inside,” Rick intuits that his survival is tied to Resurrection’s. It’s a small-town story that honestly depicts the struggle between “modern” tech savvy America and the blue-collar past: “As he pulled into his small town, he felt like he was looking at a terminal patient doing the best it could not to give up hope in the face of an incurable disease.” Rick’s best weapon is his integrity, but he’ll need more than that to fight off yet another corporation.
Resurrection America does touching work, tying together a portrait of rural America in crisis. Without pulling any punches, Gunhus delivers an unforgettable thriller that is thought-provoking, honest, and true-blue.
Claire Rudy Foster
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