David J. Holleman’s Blue Baja artfully renders a flawed hero in Euthel “Buzz” Brewer, a man whose life of success is turned upside down by unexpected twists of fate. Brewer is the epitome of the flawed hero, a man with the best intentions in life, whose personal tragedies lead him down a destructive path and motivate him to seek his own brand of justice and revenge.
Brewer is a successful doctor in Louisiana, happily married with a young child, living an idyllic life that is full of joy and success. When an unexpected phone call puts into motion a chain of events that destroys his life and everything that he holds dear, he is left floundering to find meaning in what’s left of his life. Failing to do so, he loses himself in a journey to Mexico, where he becomes a heroin addict, unrecognizable, even to himself—utterly emaciated and unkempt.
He is pushed to the brink of insanity, attempting to take his own life under the influence of amphetamines; however, he is saved, restores his life and becomes a noble man once again. When tragedy strikes him for a second time, Brewer seeks revenge on the person who is responsible, willing to take any measures necessary, including murder, motivated by the right reasons to commit a dark deed, vowing to come into his foe’s life as “a Satan that he will not survive.” Throughout the novel, he remains enigmatic to readers, wavering between righteousness and humanly flawed that, while understandable, still lie outside the line of “heroic.”
Holleman displays an extraordinary talent for creating compelling characters, adding a great deal of depth to his page-turning plot of crime, murder, and revenge. Brewer is just one of Holleman’s skillfully portrayed characters, each eliciting intense emotional reactions from readers, ranging from hatred to sympathy, through his psychological explorations of villains and enigmatic heroes.
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