Evil's Root

A Political Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - General
391 Pages
Reviewed on 12/06/2012
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

Controversial but dedicated U.S. Senator David Kursten, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Crime, Drug Trafficking and Terrorism, is in Peru to see if the cocoa fields which are producing cocaine can be eradicated. As they fly above the Huallaga Valley in Peru, Senator Kursten and Peruvian Colonel Vargas are killed along with the pilot of their plane by the plane's co-pilot, Major Spancheck, a U.S. Army horticulturalist. A missile is found in one of the panels of the plane's fuselage so leftist guerrillas are blamed for the crash and deaths. But a local man and his grandson witnessed the plane crash and saw a man parachute from the plane as it fell. They kept his parachute which was stenciled with a "U.S. Army" insignia. Steve Collins of Samuel Polsky's small newspaper, Lima Tribune, is sent to Tingo Maria in the Huallaga Valley along with Jennifer Strand, a reporter for Reuters, to meet with Cesar Montalvo, head of leftist Peruvian insurgents who claim that they are fighting corrupt the Peruvian military and drug lords. What is really going on and are there ties to a powerful drug industry in the United States itself?

Author Michael Segedy's Evil’s Root is a powerful and very well-written thriller. This book has a complex plot that offers suspense, twists and turns, and violence as it works to story's conclusion. Steve Collins, Jennifer "Arielle Stiglow" Strand, Cesar Montavo and all characters both major and minor are believable and add to this story's telling. Readers will surely be awaiting Michael Segedy's next book. Evil’s Root is one of those unforgettable stories filled with characters that will stay with the reader for a long time.

Eduardo Aduna

Michael Segedy’s Evil's Root is a thrilling journey into the corruption, greed and international mongering taking place in the drug scene of Peru. During an important fact-finding mission that would set U.S. drug policy for Peru, Senator David Kursten’s plane crashes. Tapped to investigate the crash is reluctant journalist Steve Collins, who sets out on a dangerous trek to uncover the truth. Together with the beautiful and mysterious Jennifer Strand, they get enmeshed in the machinations of corrupt Peruvian officials, anti-capitalist rebels and agents of the United States, each with their own agendas. As Steve and Jennifer uncover more of the truth, their beliefs become threatened, not to mention their very lives.

Rarely does a fiction novel, a thriller at that, so poignantly show how American values and perspectives differ from those of the rest of the world. Set in a place where American foreign policy acts like a wealthy bully, "Evil's Root" shows readers a different, though probably realistic side, of how America deals with her “allies” and how individuals in these countries struggle under the shadow of American influence. It is these individuals that make the story such a satisfying read. The General in particular is so awesome that you could feel the pain that was the root of his actions. His raw emotions are palpable, a constant source of emotional tension. Michael Segedy crafts a tale so grey that the characters, though well-thought-out and described, still have that ever present feeling of being capable of doing something unpredictable. This underlying tension permeates through most of the novel. That and the marvelous Peruvian setting kept me on my toes, ready for whatever surprises the author was going to throw at me. And there were quite a few. Segedy’s prose is vivid, though at times too much so and he tends to dwell on irrelevant aspects of the plot while rushing through relevant ones. Still, I found myself turning each page eagerly. I was glad I did as the ending of "Evil's Root" is one of the best I have ever come across.

Dr. Oliva Dsouza

The novel begins with the “murder made to look like an air crash” death of US Senator David Kursten, who is also the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Crime, Drug trafficking, and Terrorism and on a mission to find the truth about coca production in Peru. The Peruvian Shining Path rebels are blamed for the attack but the US Ambassador to Peru suspects something is amiss. Ambassador Wenton decides to send the Reuters reporter Jennifer Strand with the Lima tribune reporter Steve Collins to the Huallaga Valley to investigate. Soon the narco-terrorist conspiracy theory seems more and more like a cover up. Will the truth be exposed? "Evil’s Root" by Michael Segedy takes you through an exciting adventure that makes you think whether truth and righteousness are worthy values in the times that we live in.

"Evil's Root" cleverly exposes the rot in our system. In the name of national interest and protecting democracy, powerful nations interfere in the functioning of poor nations for their own advantage. The exploitation of the poor and defenseless and how their lives are valueless when bigger players are involved makes this book a thought provoking one. As the plot unfolds to expose the nexus between the military and officials of the two countries, one realizes that some of us live in a bubble believing in the goodness of purpose of our governments without actually knowing the truth. Politics, power, money, drugs, the dynamics of international arms/drugs trade, greed, betrayal, sacrifice make this novel an exciting read.