Book Review: Pariah by Ward Parker
Updated: Sep 3, 2018
Highly recommended: A great tale of a native Florida fisherman with a whole lot murder, human trafficking, illegal smuggling and injustice in the justice system thrown in.
The bait: A nice touch of humor and sarcasm to endear you to Zeke Adams, who is otherwise set up as an unworthy ex-paparazzi who you probably should hate, but don’t.
The cast: When Zeke is thrown into a beach full of bodies, the reader quickly begins to relate to the unlucky protagonist who through a series of mishaps becomes entangled with illegal immigration and under-age sex offenders.
The lure: The flavorful depictions of Florida’s much-sought-after coastal life, offset by a glimpse into Haitian-American life and the problems with illegal immigration and smuggling in the coastal states, keeps the reader engaged and wanting to dive deeper into the story.
Hooked: Although this is the first book in the series, Parker drops the reader right into the story without taking a lot of time to set up the characters, hooking the reader in no time flat. The easy references to events that came before and the interaction between characters was nicely done and informative, without being disruptive to the current storyline.
The book was written entirely from Zeke Adam’s point of view and while first person narrative can be difficult to get details across in a subtle way especially when writing mysteries, this book was really well done. The reader could feel Zeke’s shock at finding a boatload of dead Haitian on his favorite fishing beach, frustration at learning he has a half-sister only to lose her again, and disbelief that his identity was stolen making him into the town pariah. As his neighbors turn on him and even his cop friend and girlfriend seem to shun him, the reader feels his outrage while taken on a wild trip of stake-outs, midnight boat rides, harrowing train crossings and prison violence.
The resolution of the book keeps delivering twist and turns in the plot, unexpected yet believable. We know this is the first book in the series and are left wondering if Zeke will stay in his comfortable life as a landlord or use his skills to relaunch his journalism career as a crime reporter. I can’t wait for the second book to find out!