The Valley

John Renehan. Dutton, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-525-95486-6
A junior officer referred to as Lieutenant Black, the hero of Renehan’s uneven first novel, looks into suspicious goings-on at a remote American military outpost high in the mountains of Afghanistan. Initially, Black uncovers the harmless shooting of a goat, but otherwise makes little progress in his investigation. Yet with each passing day, the awkward silences and unfinished sentences of those he’s interviewing convince Black that something far more worrisome than the shooting of native livestock is at stake. Renehan draws on his experiences as a former field artillery officer in Iraq to provide clear insight into the minds of soldiers operating under extreme pressure. After a captivating first half of fresh prose and a driving narrative, however, the story loses its way and turns predictable and introspective. The rot that has been infesting the outpost fails to surprise, and Black’s interior thought process is less interesting than the actions he has been ordered to carry out. Agent: Robert Guinsler at Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 03/10/2015
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-78408-284-0
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-78408-283-3
Ebook - 658 pages - 978-1-78408-281-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-359-1
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-451-47186-4
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