Cym Lowell’s outlandish novel “Jasper’s War” is close to being foolish in its concept. The actions of the protagonists are so unrealistic in their depiction that I was tempted many times to close the book, throw it on my discard pile, and move along to something more believable. But I didn’t, staying the course to the end.
First, let’s discuss the people created by Lowell. There’s Jaspar, a lovely woman raised in genteel surroundings, engaged in an idyllic lifestyle with beautiful children and a successful husband. Her despair at the death of her husband and the kidnapping of her children transforms her into an instant warrior, capable of committing violent murder and mayhem, willing to engage in frenetic lovemaking with despicable men, and subject to explosive rages or sobbing breakdowns, depending on the time of day.
Her guiding angel, an enigmatic man of superhuman strength and mysterious talents, who can subdue a constant parade of trained gunmen with a flick of his wrist, jump off a cliff with the woman, a dog, and a massive armory of heavy weapons in a sack hanging on him as he maneuvers a piece of canvas like a sail plane, and torture with indifference as he stabs kidneys, cuts throats, and breaks limbs. His periodic breakdowns into a blubbering and clinging wimp are so out of character it tempts one to laugh.
The remaining characters we encounter are stereotypes of slick and brilliant criminals who are ruthless, self indulgent, and willing to commit any act that will protect their interests. And then there’s the dog, a wondrous creature that thinks and acts like a robot, can anticipate danger of any kind that threatens his master, and even knows to walk in water and on surfaces that will leave no tracks to evade detection. This dog, believe it or not, is astute enough to tear into a bag of money and scatter the bills around to create a diversion. And there is an Indian chief bestowed with more mystical aura and sagaciousness than all you’ve ever known—combined
Why, you ask, did I waste my time finishing a book I so disliked? Well, the thing is I didn’t dislike it. I considered it to be a farce, a comic book, that was so full of action and unbelievable happenings that I had to know where the author was going with his nonsense. I was riveted to his outlandish imagination. And the writing was good, solid adventure stuff. So, while I can’t give the book high ratings, I’ll give it enough of a thumbs up to salute Cym Lowell’s audacity in bringing his vision to light.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES