“Me I am going to Sweden with my son. You,” he says “and you and you are going to stand your ground and make sure that happens.”
Sheldon Horozwitz, an 82 year old ex-marine, who moved to Oslo Norway at the request of his granddaughter Rhea. However when he witnesses a law-breaking offence, he finds himself rescuing a young boy; at that moment Sheldon makes a split second decision and vows to protect him, ensuring that he does not fall into the arms of his dangerous father. But in a strange country and with his age, how will Sheldon survive against a gang of young men?
The book is centred around a grumpy 82-year-old ex-marine called Sheldon. He is originally from New York, but he has come over to Norway to live with his granddaughter Rhea and her new husband Laars. With no living relatives and friends nearby and the fact that Sheldon and his late wife brought Rhea up, she insisted that he came to live with them. Although Sheldon is a grumpy old man, it is impossible not to like him. He is very witty and says what he thinks.
“Do you know why dogs are called hot dogs?” Sheldon says aloud from this commanding position. If he had a cane he would wave it, but he walks without one. Lars looks up in attention. Rhea, however, silently sighs “World War 1. We were angry at the German, so we punished them by renaming their food. Better with the war on terror,” he continued.
The storyline is different from your average book, particularly when your hero is 82 years old! It makes a stimulating change for once.
Throughout the book we discover a lot about Sheldon past; for example his life as a sniper or a file clerk as he had told his wife, what he has been through and how far he would go to shield the boy. He couldn’t protect his son but this time around he has a second chance with the boy and there was no way he was going to muck it up.
Derek Miller has written this novel beautifully. I like the flashbacks as we slip in between realities; for example past and present. We can clearly see that Sheldon has regrets, guilt, has the onset of dementia and has never got over the death of his son Saul.
However, I did struggle when I got to the middle, as it began to drag. I could not understand where Sheldon was taking Paul and what he hoped to achieve. I also thought that the middle was way too long. Also, I am unsure as to why Serbians and Kosovo’s are in Norway. As I persevered (and I am pleased to say I’m glad I did) Miller managed to build up to a tense and dramatic climax. I found the fast-paced ending a joy to read and it kept me engaged. (and out of trouble) Although I did feel like the ending was slightly rushed and more could have been said; perhaps Derek Miller planning a sequel?
Therefore it is Sheldon who makes the story and brings it to life. Despite the middle being a bit slow engaging, this is a very good read of an old man last chance to put his demons to rest.