From the screenwriter of the Oscar-nominated House of Sand and Fog comes a fierce, elegant pause-register about race, money, and the American Dream.
JW is a small-town banker; his specialty, teaching other bankers in towns near Indian reservations how to profit from casino deposits without exposing themselves to risk; his problem, he lost his son in a car accident a year ago, he's depressed, his wife is leaving him, and he can't stop gambling.
When he is caught embezzling funds to support his addiction, JW's boss offers him a choice: he can either accept responsibility and go to prison or use his talents to sabotage a competing Native American banker named Johnny Eagle. With the clock ticking, JW moves into a trailer on the reservation within sight of his prey. But as he befriends Eagle and his son, JW finds that his plan to reclaim his freedom will be more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.
There are two parts to writing: How you tell your story and the story itself. In the case of the Sins of our Fathers, the story is well-written, but the story is weak. I got fatally wounded while reading about Blackjack, my game of choice when I'm helping to pay the electric bills for the casinos. Mr. Otto's description of the game made me wonder if he'd ever been in a casino. He also noted the racket of coins in the slot machines -- a sound that hasn't been heard in ten or fifteen years.
The story is the downward trajectory of the main character due to his own blunders. Instead of sympathy for him, it seemed to me he just got what he deserved. At book's end, I wasn't satisfied; I was just glad it was over.
A book this well-written deserves a better review, but I gotta be honest.
Shawn spins a story that's believable, intriguing and shocking. We hear so much about the continued prejudice against African Americans, but what about the treatment of our indigenous people, the American Indians? Shawn's story grabs the reader's attention with an ingenious plot while laying open the legal, political and entrepreneurial abuses inflicted on them. This book is a must read!