Books are the staff of intellectual life and the thousands published every year always deliver a few gems usually from indie or small presses. For the longest time, the big city publishing houses acted as gatekeepers to ensure the public didn’t get the deep critiques of the sate that the last twenty years have delivered in spades whether through original works or the Ludwig von Mises Institute gargantuan efforts to populate known space with the forgotten or neglected great works or the efforts of the Liberty Fund project.
These are three of hundreds I have read in the past few years and I will be sure to host some more reviews in the future.
The Permit by William Scott is a father’s fictionalized catharsis after the murder of his son, Erik Scott, in Las Vegas by local cops on 10 July 2010. One can read the account and see that the Corners Inquest justification for the murder of Erik was simply another fabrication by police across the country making them literally above the law with a license to kill. I have discussed many of the horrific aspects of the police state in America elsewhere and will not belabor this review. I have to say that my anti-police state bias certainly set up high expectations when I jumped into this novel. I am halfway through the first draft of my first novel and find myself both a reader and a student of the craft as I read now.
The fictionalized circumstances of Erik’s death at the hand of the local gang in blue in the book is difficult to appreciate absent a background in the actual murder by the thugs in black and blue so I recommend you take the time to apprise yourself of the actual events before reading The Permit. Scott tells a compelling story with some fantastical coincidences that demand much suspension of disbelief and a last chapter or epilogue that I found simply inaccessible. Altogether, a satisfying experience with some well-fleshed characters and plenty of one dimensional characters who serve as mere set pieces in story arcs. The deepest and most tragic figure in the story is the fictionalized father whom Scott indulges with what appears to be plenty of autobiographical ventriloquism.
I won’t spoil the story by describing any of the plot turns and surprises but the main premise of a Federal government agency taking matters into its own hands by taking on the corrupt Las Vegas Metro legal tangle with both cops and politicians on the take simply beggars belief. The imprimatur of a White House authorization to maim and kill members of the law enforcement community to “fight corruption” is a rich premise but would not stand up to scrutiny. The barbaric nature of the police community in the US is a direct result of the increasing Federalization of cops and crime, rapid militarization and the evil War on Drugs that makes America home to twenty five percent of the incarcerated population with five percent of the world’s total population.
But a novel is necessarily granted flights of fancy because fiction riffs off reality and tightens and compartmentalizes the narrative of intertwined lives. I am in the middle of my first work of fiction and novels are complex creatures that demand a tremendous amount of work and attention to detail. They are living beings that start to write themselves in different ways than your initial outline decided. The character arcs are alive and take on a compass point of their own.
For those who enjoy techno-thrillers with a dollop of anti-authority musings, The Permit is for you. For those who realize that government is never the answer, you will be disappointed that while the Federal government appears to do the right thing in the book, the cavalcade of calamities that is Metro Las Vegas and American policing across the land is a direct result of the central government creating the very monster they attempt to contain in in this novel. I salute Mr. Scott and his loss and hope this book inspires people to not only consider the murder of his son but the larger implications of tolerating the monstrous state of American policing.
A personal friend of mine penned Modules for Manhood: What Every Man Should Know (Volume 1 of 3) by Kenneth W. Royce so I wanted to extend full disclosure for this brief review. Kenneth, also known as Boston T. Party, is a prolific author and his revised Boston’s Gun Bible has been on my nightstand for nearly thirteen years as a fixture and influenced thousands of dollars directed per his recommendations for my armory and training. I own everything he ever wrote (I even have a rare hardcover edition of Molon Labe). Over the years, whenever Ken and I find ourselves at conference, we tend to hang out together as the resident graybeards in a increasingly younger crowd at libertarian events.