ForeWord Reviews

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Turtle Hawks

Clarion Review (4 Stars)

Periclese “Peri” Pontakis is an investigative journalist known to one and all in Greece, where he investigates corruption and exposes it on “Under World,” a wildly popular TV show. Beloved by the common man and disparaged by those he exposes—doctors, lawyers, politicians—Peri fights to expose the “Greek reality,” the corruption that is destroying his beloved country.

Peri speaks for the “voiceless people who [are] relying on him to set Greek society aright.” He prides himself on his uncompromising stance against the injustices that Greek citizens have come to accept as inevitable.

When Peri plans to expose a well-known doctor for withholding a lifesaving operation from a patient who cannot afford to pay cash under the table—a practice doctors use to make up for what they feel is unfair insurance compensation—his boss demands that Peri drop his allegations. If he does not, he’ll be fired.

Faced with a situation that requires him to compromise his values or lose his job, Peri finds himself questioning his idealism. Have his outspoken exposés made any difference to his country, or has it all been vanity? Has he accomplished anything other than creating an iconic image and high ratings on the TV station?

In the midst of wrestling with his conscience, Peri is drawn to investigating the plight of the endangered loggerhead turtle, which pulls him out of his typical arena. In the process of fighting for the turtle he uncovers further corruption, and he and his crew find themselves fighting for their lives.

His family is in shambles. His love life exists solely in his head. His true friends number only two, and one of those is his cat. But Peri soldiers on, led by ego and compassion, a mix that readers will find likable enough to forgive Ian Douglas Robertson for posing him, at times, on a soapbox: “Peri had always envisioned a world without borders, true globalization, not the pseudo-globalization invented by the corporate giants, to exploit the under classes of the third world. … He was sure world society would eventually evolve in which different races and creeds existed in relative harmony, like Constantinople or Alexandria of old.”

One can hope for such a Utopia, although given Peri’s best efforts it seems the odds are stacked against it.

Robertson’s plot marches steadily toward a comfortable, perhaps too neat, resolution, although readers will be left to ponder the question Peri raises—can corruption in high places ever be eradicated?

Robertson lives in Greece, where he is a writer, translator, teacher, and actor. He provides a mix of suspense, romance, politics, and philosophy in this engaging tale.

Ruth Douillette