“Colombiano,” by Rusty Young

“Colombiano” by Rusty Young is a very long novel, at nearly 700 pages. At times, it is repetitive and in the opinion of this reader it could have used have serious editing. Putting aside those concerns, it is an engrossing novel, with richly developed characters, and a plot that is both relevant and edge of your seat mesmerizing.

The story depicts the conflict between the the army and the Guerrilla groups in Colombia and the horrifying recruitment of children into these groups and the insane violence they encounter. The story, though fictional, is based on interviews the author conducted with these child soldiers, and the descriptions are so vivid and the story so compelling that one cannot imagine the author relied on just the interviews. Writing like this usually, if not always, comes from real life experiences.

The protagonist is 15 year old Pedro Gutiérrez. He is the son of a farmer, who he loves dearly, and loves helping out on the farm and one day hopes to inherit the property. He also has a girlfriend named Camila who he also loves. In short, he is a happy fifteen year old, but all that changes when his father is executed in front of him by Guerrilla soldiers, and to make things worse he and his mother are banished from their farm and left with no income.

Pedro swears revenge and together with his best friend Palillo, they join a illegal Paramilitary black ops organization and, in turn, it turns him into the killer he needs to be in order to revenge the death of his father.

We follow Pedro as he moves up the ranks in the paramilitary organization, experiencing one crazy, intense mission after another, but it’s his determination to revenge and kill those who took part in his father’s death that carries this fascinating story to its conclusion.

This is a really good book and it is hard not to get emotionally involved, and it is not all violence and killing, but at times quite tender as Camila is always somewhere in the background.

I was asked if I would like to review this book by Lily Green at Havelock & Baker Publishing. I said yes, and this is an honest review.51hASbClM3L._SY445_

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