16 February 2004
As the pages turn
There was no way I could pass up David Kent's debut novel Department Thirty. For one thing, Kent lives here in town; for another, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to put out a novel about shadowy anti-government conspirators. In Oklahoma City. In 1995, yet.
But this isn't some variation on a theme by Timothy McVeigh. Kent's scruffy hero, Ryan Elder, comes home to Oklahoma after being sacked from yet another radio job, and his parents seem strangely distant, even cryptic.
And then they kill themselves.
What all this is about takes a while to unfold. Some of it is sort of predictable, some of it isn't, but all of it moves at decently high speed, and you know there's bound to be a screenplay in there somewhere. (Of course, if they do make a movie out of Department Thirty, they won't film it here; they'll throw in some exterior shots of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and shoot the rest in Vancouver, so this is one of your few chances to tour the Okay City's meaner streets.) It's a good read, and I'm looking forward to Kent's next book.