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Facing Rushmore Hardcover – November 18, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Earnest FBI agent Charlie Hart begins his debut fictive foray (two more Hart novels are planned) claustrophobically, as Charlie rigorously interrogates an Indian demonstrator named John Brown Dog, ringleader of a protest group that has vandalized the St. Louis Arch. Over the whole of Part I, written completely in dialogue, John answers Charlie's questions obliquely, offering detours and metaphors and elliptical threats spread over many chapters. In Part II, Charlie puzzles over John's yarn. Is Brown Dog an enraged crackpot or a terrorist threat? Are his weapons, ghost dancing and a mysterious black powder, just to name a couple, truly powerful or dependent upon the superstition of the targeted victims? Charlie can find no evidence of crime, but as Indian protest swells—Mount Rushmore, a site sacred to Native Americans, is threatened—government bosses order brute force to curb the group; Charlie, who doesn't believe that John Brown Dog is violent, is tasked with taking him down. Martin (The Crying Heart Tattoo) creates real tension out of Charlie's dilemma, particularly in the runup to Part III and the aftermath it chronicles. But Martin's handling of the mystical elements shifts unsteadily from allegory to thriller to clumsy social commentary. Despite some compelling scenes and genuine chills, the whole is a lot less than the sum of the parts. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When a suspected Native American terrorist starts to conjure up bizarre visions, FBI agent Charlie Hart finds his skepticism shaken. First there were "shape shadows," haunting human and animal images that seem comprised of liquid tar. Then John Brown Dog's "ghost dancing," hypnotic displays that prophesied elimination of the white man through peaceful means. Together with a shrewd Native American elder and a surly prostitute with curious war paint on her face, John Brown Dog is determined to help his people repossess lands that were once theirs. The trio is charged with blanketing the St. Louis Gateway Arch in a mysterious black substance and literally "defacing" Mount Rushmore, dissolving the four presidential visages to gravel. (In the process, a spooky crack forms across Lincoln's mouth, making it appear as if the sixteenth president were about to speak.) Martin, author of The Crying Heart Tattoo (1982), creates a memorable character in FBI agent Hart, who undergoes a startling emotional and physical transformation. A provocative thriller that starts with a bang but loses a little momentum toward the end. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684853493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684853499
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,932,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
How did the St. Louis Memorial Arch turn black has puzzled scientists and FBI Agent Charlie Hart. Lakota Sioux ghost dancer John Brown Dog claims he caused it to happen and also insists the only way to return it back to its former state is to wash the arch with non-pasteurized milk. Still Charlie interrogates John to learn more about what chemicals he used and how dangerous they pose to the public. Instead of direct responses or even ignoring the Fed, John rambles all over the place including weird references to meeting God's whore Elena in Tennessee. Charlie admits he has no idea what John is telling him especially about controlling shape shadows.

Frustrated Charlie gives up and assumes the guy is a lunatic. That is until John conjures up the shape shadows. Meanwhile a freed John heads west to vandalize other American monuments and warns the descendents of the founding fathers that unless DC cedes all public forests and other Federal/State lands to the Native American population, no newborn will grace the country except the offspring of a select small band of Indians.

Readers will agree with Charlie and the power mongers that no way will a biblical level disaster occur like John claims will happen. Yet somehow David Lozell Martin locks in his audience who follows the suspenseful goings on to observe what impossibility will next occur because hooked fans will start to accept that John has the power through the shape shadows to enact revenge on those who have destroyed the Indian way of life. This action-packed thriller is a cautionary tale that asks humanity "What's Going On?" as we destroy the planet and head towards extinction.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
I'm having issues trying to get 3.5 stars to work. I read this book hoping for something as compelling as the next in the series (I read them out of order) and was somewhat disappointed. _Facing Rushmore_ is an entertaining read that is part social commentary and part story. It includes what I would refer to as the fantastic, as it juxtaposes the themes of Native American or Indigenous storytelling and narrative throughout the book.

At times the story feels forced, as if the social commentary overrides what the author is actually trying to do--tell a story. It can be frustrating to read a book, when an author is trying too hard to be witty or hit you over the head with a point.

Don't get me wrong, I will read more by this author and have found that I read his books in one sitting quickly. I think the stories/books are original and insightful. The audience for this book is a wide, general audience.
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Format: Hardcover
David Martin, one of the most prolific, versatile, and under-rated novelists of his generation, has once again shown his tremendous talent in Facing Rushmore. Not only is it a powerful and disturbing novel, it's full of history that every American should be aware of as well as ashamed. It should be a "must read" in every school, home, and public library.
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