Let’s get right to the point. The Last Patriot, a thriller by Brad Thor, is the most ridiculous book I’ve read in my adult life with the possible exception of Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi, which I read to my children when they were toilet training. The book was so impossibly bad that I could not put it down. It was like watching a clown car accident – every time the paramedics would pull a dead clown from the wreckage they would find another, and another, and another… Anyway, for all its faults, The Last Patriot managed to both top the New York Times Bestseller list and be banned in Saudi Arabia. As a result of death threats Thor received after this book was published, WorldNetDaily dubbed the author “the new Salmon Rushdie.” Now that’s offensive.
The Last Patriot is a work of right-wing fantasy that features Scot Harvath, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and Secret Service Agent, who works so far undercover as a Department of Homeland Security operative that only the President really knows that he works for the government. By golly, Harvath just happens to be vacationing with is sweetheart in Paris at the right place and time to witnesses and foil a car bombing. What a coincidence! Thank goodness, Harvath jumps into action and learns that the intended victim is a college professor on a secret mission from the President of the United States.
That begins a dizzying chain of events that reveals that President Thomas Jefferson left clues in a rare first edition of Don Quixote that he, Jefferson, had discovered that the Quran had been altered; that Mohammed had a final revelation of peace, light, puffy clouds and flowers, that countered his previous violent proclamations. Harvath begins a race to safely recover the documents before hoards of Muslim extremist assassins can find and destroy them. Of course, this is all a ham fisted attempt by the author to mimic what Dan Brown does so effectively.
I can understand how this would be offensive to Muslims around the world, but really it is done so poorly that they should just laugh it off and let the book fade away in ignominy. But it’s not just the plot that offends. As someone who counts Muslims among his close personal friends, I found myself cringing during long anti-Islamic editorial diatribes that Thor interjects throughout the book.
Thor’s prose is about as satisfying to read as a Department of Defense brief. He includes a complete bio of each character he introduces. Humorously, in addition to what schools they attended and their governmental service record, he feels compelled to tell you how tall each is in feet and inches. I amused my family at dinner one evening by fanning through the book’s pages and calling out every character’s height.
But none of this detail helps. His characters are life-size cardboard cutouts with bios written on yellow Post-its stuck to their foreheads.
When it comes to personal firepower, Harvath is well equipped. His manly armory is stored in a climate controlled vault beneath his home that he calls the “crypt”. It includes: shotguns by Beretta, Benelli, Remington and Mossberg; two Robar RC 50 rifles; “one of almost every Heckler & Koch machine and submachine gun model produced in the last twenty years”; and variants of M16 Clinic’s Viper.
But Harvath’s most treasured weapon is a custom built LaRue Tactical “stealth” M4 rifle with an Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight, Xiphos NT rail light, and FLS Laserlyte laser. In honor of the Norse god of thunder, Harvath had the word “Thor” laser etched on the side of the magazine well. Any connection between that adornment and the author’s ego are no doubt purely unintended. With all this firepower, Sigmund Freud might conclude that there is some mighty compensating going on. Perhaps there wasn’t room enough to tattoo the author’s name on the side of his penis.
As a sidearm, Harvath packs a .45 HK USP Tactical that throws Winchester 230-grain SXT&P lead. And just think, Ian Fleming, a real life intelligence officer for the British during World War II, didn’t think to give his hero James Bond anything more than a puny .25 Beretta automatic.
I’ve told my children that I will always keep a copy of this book on my bookshelf. Why? Because it gives me hope. If The Last Patriot can become a national best seller and make money for an agent, publisher, booksellers, and the author, it gives me hope that I too can achieve big-time success as a writer. But that’s just me. My recommendation to everyone else is that they save their money and, more importantly, their time and just let this book mold on the shelves of Half Price Books.