D.W. Wilson - Ballistics (3 stars)

D.W. Wilson - Ballistics

A confident debut novel about a man on a journey to uncover the truth about his past


In D.W. Wilson's debut novel Ballistics, the Canadian Rockies are on fire, a son searches for his long-lost father, and manly men do manly things. When his grandfather suffers a heart attack, Alan West begins a journey that will uncover the truth about his past as he seeks out the father he has never known.

Though the journey itself is an important and recurring theme for Wilson, this book is essentially about men. It explores their relationships; with each other, with their sons, and to a lesser extent with women. In fact while the novel is well-written, confident, and often compelling, Wilson's portrayal of women jars somewhat. The female characters are little more than plot devices, their personalities barely explored. Instead their interactions serve mostly to show the reader what makes the male characters tick.

Wilson's narrative is nevertheless engaging. His descriptive style is vivid and effective, albeit tinted with a romanticised view of small-town North America, and while the novel may not go out with a bang, fittingly, this book is about what happens on the journey.

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