The Burning Hill by A.D. Flint
On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have been fatal, but miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected condition that soon would have killed him.
Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice. Vilson, the teenage favela kid who fired the bullet, is a victim of injustice, in a corner with a corrupt cop and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood.
With a turf war erupting in Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway, and anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there. But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy.
The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s desire for justice at any cost.
Review by J.A. Warnock
‘The Burning Hill’ by A. D. Flint requires instructions for use. You are probably thinking that is an odd opening for a review but it is, in my opinion, both necessary and true. They are as follows:
- Buy the book; it is brilliant!
- Under no circumstances read the sleeve notes.
- Open at page one and begin.
If you must, read the cover at the end. You can thank me later.
I have one single, solitary complaint about this book and I will get it out of the way first. Although the cover images are well judged (suggesting the stifling heat of Brazil, the isolation of an individual that does not fit with the surroundings and a city in crisis) the words are not. It was an ongoing source of frustration as I read the book that the blurb, in just a few lines of text, gave so much away. Initially I also found this made it difficult to get into the story, in fact the first fifteen chapters were “as discouraging as a breakfast of cold porridge” [writing credit NY Times; Mr Klefstad challenge accepted] because despite the Flint’s best effort at creating jeopardy I already knew the outcome.
Thankfully this is a review of the book not the cover and this is quite simply an exquisite piece of writing. A.D. Flint has the knack of brevity. His character descriptions say more in a few words than some authors can in paragraphs or pages. Settings are not the subject of lengthy descriptions but somehow I could taste the dust, smell the smoke and feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck as tensions grew. A world that should have felt utterly unfamiliar felt real; desperately, oppressively real. The story never stands still with action generally taking place in several places at once and never entirely lets the reader catch their breath. Chapters are short; there is no fluff. The story boulders on with a momentum all of its own. It is a book about consequences but not long philosophical or cerebral consequences. In ‘The Burning Hill’ action and consequence are immediate, brutal and real. Each character holds an unshakeable certainty of belief in their view of the world regardless of how different it might be to the reader’s or the other characters’. There is a feeling that everyone, at some point, ends up in the wrong place and their right, wrong and utterly random decisions are crafted into a genuinely compelling story. Five Stars.
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