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Green Sun

Green Sun

by Kent Anderson

Narrated by Kevin Stillwell

Unabridged — 10 hours, 59 minutes

Kent Anderson
Green Sun

Green Sun

by Kent Anderson

Narrated by Kevin Stillwell

Unabridged — 10 hours, 59 minutes

Kent Anderson

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"One of the unsung heroes of crime fiction" (Chicago Tribune), Kent Anderson, returns after two decades with this dazzling novel about justice, character and fate, set against the backdrop of an American city at war with itself.

Oakland, California, 1983: a city churning with violent crime and racial conflict. Officer Hanson, a Vietnam veteran, has abandoned academia for the life-and-death clarity of police work, a way to live with the demons that followed him home from the war.

But Hanson knows that justice requires more than simply enforcing the penal code. He believes in becoming a part of the community he serves—which is why, unlike most officers, he chooses to live in the same town where he works. This strategy serves him a point. He forges a precarious friendship with Felix Maxwell, the drug king of East Oakland, based on their shared sense of fairness and honor. He falls in love with Libya the moment he sees her, a confident and outspoken black woman. He is befriended by Weegee, a streetwise eleven-year-old who is primed to become a dope dealer.

Every day, every shift, tests a cop's boundaries between the man he wants to be and the officer of the law he's required to be. At last an off-duty shooting forces Hanson to finally face who he is, and which side of the law he belongs on.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 12/04/2017
After several years teaching English literature in Idaho, Hanson, the hero of Anderson’s deeply moving novel set in 1983, has returned to police work as a beat cop in the economically devastated neighborhoods of East Oakland, Calif. A former Special Forces sergeant in Vietnam, Hanson expected to die in the war. Now, more than a decade later, he misses the simple purity of conflict. Hanson doesn’t care if he lives or dies, and that freedom has brought him closer to his underserved community. Immediately at odds with the department’s policy of brute containment, he sees himself as more of an “armed social worker.” Things get complicated when Hanson’s path crosses that of Felix Maxwell, the local drug lord who has become a kind of urban folk hero. In a series of vivid and often hallucinatory episodes, Anderson (Night Dogs) shows Hanson, aided by an 11-year-old neighborhood boy named Weegee, navigating the mean streets of Oakland, dealing with situations forcefully but always with humanity. Anderson’s model of community policing couldn’t be more timely. (Feb.)

From the Publisher


"Green Sun succeeds on so many levels, it's hard to keep count. . . . Hanson is a fascinating and memorable character, but the real star of Green Sun is Anderson's writing. . . . He's a compassionate writer who never wastes a single word. . . . Anderson is adept at finding a terrible kind of beauty in the worst circumstances, which makes Green Sun difficult to put down even when it's emotionally painful to keep reading. Above all, it's a stunning meditation on power, violence and the intractability of pain, which Anderson seems to understand all too well."Michael Schaub, NPR

"Quietly staggering . . . Kent Anderson is one of the unsung legends of crime fiction."Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune

"Anderson's writing is reminiscent of that of James Lee Burke, blending pathos, violence, and corruption with long-shot hope and glimpses of natural wonder. . . . Anderson's lean but limber style makes this novel a suitable companion for just about anyone."Erik Spanberg, Christian Science Monitor

"Kent Anderson's GREEN SUN is, simply put, one of the finest police novels I have ever read. I'd gladly put it on the same shelf with Tim O'Brien's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. Yes, it's that good."Stephen King

"Kent Anderson serves up the best of what crime fiction can do in Green Sun, showing us a slice of the world that stands for the whole wide world, and giving us Officer Hanson, whose perseverance and bedrock fairness and understanding of human frailty make him a hero for all places and times. The Hanson Trilogy should not be a secret. It's the best of the best in American storytelling today."Michael Connelly

"Green Sun tells the unvarnished truth about what it is to be a cop in modern day America. I can give a suspense novel no higher compliment."
James Patterson

"Deeply moving.... Anderson's model of community policing couldn't be more timely."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Anderson doesn't publish much, but when he does, it's something to remember. . . . It is perhaps the perfect time for an honest, realistic, unflinching portrayal of a good cop, and Anderson delivers just that."Booklist (starred review)

"Kent Anderson is the finest portrayer of the cop novel, elevating the genre to the highest literary form. With his third novel, Green Sun, he completes a trilogy that would sit effortlessly alongside the masters, Cormac McCarthy and James Lee Burke. This is Ellroy for a whole new generation. I am green with admirable envy."Ken Bruen

"Kent Anderson has crafted a literary miracle here. We're transported to 'Nam and circa-'80 Oakland, reimagined as Hell, seen through the eyes of a crusading cop unique in the annals of police literature. This jazzy—and jazz influenced—novel is like the best of early Joseph Wambaugh. In Oaklandese: If I'm lyin', I'm flyin'!"James Ellroy

"Kent Anderson immediately pulls you into his taut, authentic depiction of a cop's life in early-80s Oakland. Green Sun is crime fiction at its best: smart, unflinching, and, ultimately, compassionate."Alafair Burke

"[Anderson] imbues his protagonist with a solid dose of humanity. If I were a cop, Hanson would be on my short list for role models."BookPage

"Kent Anderson is the real deal, with a past to prove it. And Green Sun shows it, with writing that pours across the page like a dark storm, but also shines, and stays with you long after you put it down."David Swinson

Library Journal

A 38-year-old U.S. Special Forces veteran and former Portland, OR, police officer, Hanson is now a beat cop in 1983 Oakland, patrolling the city's worst areas. He views himself as more of a counselor than an enforcer and would rather talk through a solution than make arrests. Hanson goes into dangerous situations alone rather than requests backup. Disliked by most of his colleagues, he works the night shift solo, gets drunk on tequila at shift's end, and sleeps the day away dreaming of his Vietnam service, death, or his daily beat. His only friend is 12-year-old Weegie, who, without some intervention, will most likely end up selling drugs on street corners. This third Hanson installment (Night Dogs) provides a dull accounting of its protagonist's routine. There is nothing that indicates the story's time period. Readers will neither like nor dislike Hanson; he is tepid, neither rogue cop nor rule follower. Even the violence is subdued. The romance with Weegie's mother is abrupt, and the ending lacks credibility. VERDICT Strictly only for the author's fans. [See Prepub Alert, 8/7/17.]—Edward Goldberg, Syosset P.L., NY

Kirkus Reviews

Hanson, Anderson's endlessly conflicted cop hero, leaves Portland (Night Dogs, 1996) for Oakland. It's a marriage made in hell.It's no surprise that most of his fellow officers take against Hanson, who doesn't so much color outside the lines as operate on a frequency where the lines don't appear. Lt. Garber tries to get him to drop out of the police academy because he's too old, too set in his ways, and too noncompliant. The more practically minded Sgt. Jackson uses him as a crash-test dummy in training exercises. Officers Barnes and Durham use him to set up a suspect they're after in full knowledge that they're setting him up, too. Hanson, who thinks of himself as a social worker with a gun, never fights back, but he often zones out in the manner of a Kurt Vonnegut hero. As the months go by, he befriends Weegee, a street-smart kid; he quietly lusts after Racine, who's called the cops on her abusive live-in; he keeps crossing swords with drug lord Felix Maxwell, though, in the manner of Kabuki warriors, neither of them ever seems to land a blow; he sees a vision of a black rabbit at the Mormon Temple; he responds to any number of complaints by defusing the situation and reporting that there's nothing to report. Nearly half of Hanson's violent, poetically rendered rookie year in Oakland has passed before some, though by no means all, of these plotlines begin to converge, and when they do, it's like watching a finely crafted short story emerge from a novel-length chrysalis.Read Anderson for great scenes and an appealingly contrary hero, and the absence of the traditional kinds of genre coherence, not to mention suspense, won't bother you a bit.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940170119752
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 11/15/2019
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews