|Look inside Amazon UK here|
Look inside Amazon US here
To be honest, after putting it down for about the third time, I nearly put it into the archive file on kindle to be lost and forgotten but, I didn't, and after getting past the first couple of pages and then into the book proper, I enjoyed it immensely, but with a couple of reservations. I was advised by someone, who had looked at the books on my review page that The Valley Walker would probably not be 'my cup of tea', and to begin with I thought they may be correct and it wasn't going to be when I discovered that ancient Laos Mysticism was involved and was actually at the heart of the story; not that I knew much about Laos mysticism, or any other mystical based cultures for that matter, but there you go, one can never quite tell until you dip your toe, as it were, into the water and then fully immerse yourself in the full experience.
So, what was it all about?
John Walker Michaels volunteered for the US army when he was 18, to go to Vietnam, we don't know how or why but while there he may have become part of the CIA or he may not! What we do know is he seemed to become a law unto himself and not many questioned him or what he did. He attached himself to units and it was accepted by commanders that he was what he was, an enigma who came and went as he pleased, disappearing and reappearing like a ghost weeks later.
He picked up languages, Vietnamese and Laotian by listening to conversations. He appeared to have almost mystical field craft skills and with weaponry too.
He was posted Killed in action turning up years later in a drug store in a town in Michigan where Terry Altro or Miss Altro or just plain Altro as she preferred to be known as, was waiting to have her prescription for contraceptives filled.
Altro was a special investigator with the Governors newly formed Drug Interdiction Unit and Walker, as everyone who new him before, had come to know him, was watching her closely, studying her and reaching out with his mind to make a connection, The Mysticism .......
When Walker had been declared KIA, he had been adopted by the Hmong peoples of Laos an old race of peoples who started of tall and white with blue eyes, but over the years of moving through the furthest parts of Asia and China, hounded and exploited, they finally settled in the mountainous region of Laos, where over the centuries their features changed to that which we recognise as Asian today. Theirs was a culture steeped in deep mystical belief a belief that the spirits can inhabit the body, both for good and for evil. It seems that Walker discovered or was empowered by his adopted and 'ancient' Hmong mother to channel one such spirit and when doing so a tattoo of a dragon would appear on his head that seemingly come to life. When he moved while in this possessive state it was to fast for the human eye to follow and made it easy for him to kill. He could appear in a room and disappear as mysteriously, in the blink of an eye. If you can suspend belief while watching a film about ghosts, or witches or even vampires and enjoy what you are watching then you can enjoy this book.
The story centres around Walker and his fight with the Laos drug lords that started in Vietnam and Laos moving to America years later. Altro who has recently been appointed to the newly formed Drug Interdiction Unit is targeted for assassination by them and their American backers, although the story doesn't quite get round to explaining why, she alone, of the new unit is singled out? Walker following her is vaguely explained in that he feels her presence but is pretty vague about why the connection was made.
The other four members of the unit are introduced. A Pakistani who seems to be good at making very strong coffee and knows about every weapon under the sun. A Vietnamese computer wizard who likes to sit with his feet up on his desk looking at Altro's ass, when he thinks she isn't looking, the 'Princess' who is gorgeous but good at her job whatever that was and Mallory the unit boss who it turns out was the last platoon leader that Walker attached himself to, before disappearing in Vietnam. That's about as much as can be said about them as their involvement in the story seemed to be just as gap fillers and completely incidental and who really appeared to play no major part in the story.
There were a couple of issues with the formatting, I read this mainly on the ipad and there seemed to be a lot of white and blank pages, and wasted space for example the 'Chapter 1' heading appears just below the centre of the page and then the first three lines of the first paragraph and this happened a couple of times and in a couple of places you got a complete blank page at the end of a chapter before the next chapter begins, same on the kindle as I opened it up on that too as a comparison.
Having said all of that though and ignoring the weak characters and the slight formatting errors I did, once I got into it, enjoy the story for what it was. It also seemed at the conclusion that someone else may have similar abilities as Walker that may have been an opening by Mr Dittmer to write more about the realms of mysticism ........
There are 97 chapters in this book but they are relatively short ones, but I believe in some books, this works well, and this is one of them and as it is a particularly well written with a flowing narrative it makes the book zip along at a good pace (except for the four hangers on), but their appearances, while interspersed throughout the book, is soon forgotten as you move along with the rest of the story. Dittmer does write well and I believe as he learns his craft he will only get better.
You can connect with Tim at: http://twdittmer.wordpress.com/
or at: @TWDittmer
Editing for Kindle /iPad: 4 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 4 out of 5
Page length on kindle /iPad: 374
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5