Twin River II

Have Weapons Will Travel

Young Adult - Action
318 Pages
Reviewed on 10/29/2014
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Author Biography

Michael Fields has taught high school English and coached basketball for over thirty years. He holds a BS in education from Edinboro University (Pennsylvania) and an MA in English from the University of Dayton. He is the author of two award-winning novels, The Chicken Thief Soldier and Twin River. Michael currently resides in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and is working on Twin River III, A Death at One Thousand Steps.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

A dark tone that will grip the reader tightly in its grasp fills the pages of Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel. Michael Fields has written a thriller with plenty of action and new mysteries waiting around every corner. Beginning with the first murder of fourteen-year-old Wesley Palladin in 1966 to lay the foundation of the story, the action then shifts to Twin River High School. There, a pair of twin brothers is wreaking havoc on the community and getting away with it. In addition to that is a kidnapping ring abducting teen girls to star in their illegal porn films. Matt Henry knows that things aren’t right and he wants to do something about it, but he needs some help. He travels to Philadelphia in the hope of hiring contract killer, Palladin, who has now grown up and is a professional hit man with mob ties. Palladin has plenty of problems of his own and decides to take Matt’s job offer back in Barree. He becomes a mentor to a boy who is strangely very much like himself. That boy is Matt Henry.

Michael Fields gets a solid hold on the reader’s imagination and emotions early on in Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel and he does not let go. The darkness of teens becoming killers hangs over the entire book and creates a tone that is both sad and thrilling. The events simply stack up in a way to make it impossible for characters like Palladin and Matt to avoid the inevitable and it leaves the reader in a difficult place as they try to determine where the line between justice and murder was crossed. In addition, the author has created a number of sideline characters that capture the reader’s interest and keep the story and the series rolling. Thrilling, action-packed and captivating, Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel not only keeps you engaged within its pages, but leaves you eager for the next installment. Very well done.

Christine Nguyen

Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel is the second installment of the Twin River series and is full of violence, suspense, and mystery. The story and plot interweave through many interesting, versatile characters and the mysterious interactions between the residents of Twin River in Polecat Hollow, Alexandria, Pennsylvania. The book starts off with how Wesley Palladin, the hired gun central in the plot, made his first kill at fourteen by the forceful persuasion of his father in the Tomoka. Years later, Palladin is hired by a young, fresh faced fourteen-year-old named Matt Henry to work at his father's bank. No one knows where the senior Henry has vanished to and Palladin has to solve the mystery of where Mr. Henry could be. Matt has been living with his best friend Connor and their family. Many girls have gone missing and no one seems to know what is happening. Twin bullies Cain and Abel are harassing and trying to kill a fellow resident, Wayne, because one of the twins got Wayne's sister pregnant.

Writer Michael Fields writes with chilling authority on the lives of the characters living in Twin River. A surreal violence permeates Twin River. There is an underlying threat throughout the whole book with sinister forces of an insane or crazy aura that permeates into the characters' lives. Why do Cain, Abel, and Matt hear voices and what do these voices tell them to do? This book is for a mature teenage crowd as it's full of violence and bloodshed. Many scenes are very fast paced. A chilling read for those who like the darker side to stories.

Lit Amri

Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel is part of the Twin River saga by Michael Fields. Like its first installment, Twin River, this book had my attention right from chapter one. In August 1966, in Ormond Beach, Florida, fourteen-year-old Wesley Palladin and his father ran into some trouble while fishing too close to a rich man’s dock up the Tomoka River. Wesley received an altering life lesson that solidly established how he would live the rest of his life. No spoilers here but fellow readers who like a dark and gritty story will be captivated with this novel.

Fast forward to the '80s in Pennsylvania, where Matt Henry, a sophomore at Twin River High School, hopes to hire a now thirty-six-year-old Wesley Palladin for a security job. Wesley was continuing his father's legacy of contract killings for the mob. It became a turning point for Matt as he discovered his true identity through the accumulation of tumultuous events.

On the whole, a good read. The prose and the pace of the story are solid, like its predecessor. This saga continues to depict best friends Matt and Conner’s turbulent coming-of-age journey. It was also great revisiting the other characters from the first book, especially the sinister twin brothers, Cain and Abel. This YA novel has a good combination of crime and mystery elements – with a dash of drama thrown in. That said, there were quite a number of key characters (main and secondary) and, with the multifaceted plot, it took me some time to connect the dots.

Lisa McCombs

Wesley Palladin is an extreme survivalist, trained by his father at an early age. His childhood could be described as darkly unconventional; learning the technique of murder and taking what he wants to survive in life. His expertise comes into play when teenagers start disappearing from Twin River High School. Friends Connor and Matt know something must be done to eliminate the dangers lurking in their small town. Warding off a bully or two is one thing, but murder and kidnapping add a much more dangerous aspect to living in Polecat Hollow. They seek the experience of trained assassin Wesley Palladin and in doing so commit their most serious crime: skipping school.

Author Michael Fields creates a disturbing image of small town life in a vivid use of descriptive passages ranging from child abuse to the obscene extravagance of wealth to the puppy mill trade to the exploitation of sexual misconduct. The further I read, the larger the geography of the setting grew. This novel implies the falseness lent to small town status. The size of a town does not reflect the extent of what happens under the cover of its obscurity. Twin River II: Have Weapons Will Travel is very graphic in scene and character descriptions. But, just at the moment I race to get past the tremendous gore of Fields' descriptions, I find myself flipping back to catch a particularly humorous film or literary reference of the time. Readers who grew up in the 1980s will appreciate the nostalgic undertones of the novel.