cover image The Cook Out

The Cook Out

Pat Riley. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper (322p) ISBN 978-1-507875-81-0

This taut thriller from Riley (Executive Deception) provides a moving look at the human toll of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Bobby Schrader, who was wounded in Iraq, lies dying in a hospital bed in Landstuhl, Germany. In Hope Mills, N.C., news of his injuries reaches his parents, Joanna and Robert. When they arrive in Europe, Joanna and Robert learn that Bobby died before they were informed he was injured. Another pair of bereaved parents begins to plot revenge against the leaders who sent soldiers into battle unprepared. Meanwhile, Raleigh journalist Rudy Ryan has been assigned to write about all the North Carolinians who died in Iraq, and he begins traveling the country, collecting sad and infuriating stories. His research keeps expanding, and he comes to believe that the war has had a broad negative impact on American society. Riley balances the two story lines nicely, building up to a genuinely surprising resolution. [em](BookLife) [/em]