Thursday, May 26, 2011

John Yunker / The Tourist Trail

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Availability Kindle: YES    Nook: NO    Paper: YES
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A resident of Ashland, Oregon, John Yunker is co-founder of Ashland Creek Press, a publisher specializing in books with travel and environmental themes. He is also an expert on “web globalization” and has written three books on the subject. For more, visit Yunker’s website or the website for Ashland Creek Press.


A research biologist who is studying penguins in Patagonia, a computer geek, and an environmental activist become involved in a battle over the world’s oceans.


As a rule, I read nonfiction to learn. Fiction is for entertainment. In The Tourist Trail, I found what I wanted and expected. It contains adventure. There are characters you'll quickly start caring about and a lot of conflict to overcome. You'll find plenty of romances to spice things up. All the elements of a good thriller are here and, if that's what you're looking for, you should come away satisfied.

Fiction, however, can also teach you things that nonfiction can't. It can help you understand a point of view that, given your life experiences, would be difficult. By putting yourself in the shoes of another, you can better understand them. This was the case with The Tourist Trail.

As in Edward Abbey's environmentalist classic The Monkey Wrench Gang, the group at the center of this story, the Cetacean Defense Alliance (CDA), is out to sabotage their foes - the scene has just moved from the desert to the ocean. They object to whaler's who continue indiscriminate harvesting of what they believe is an endangered species. They oppose long-line anglers who they think kill too many birds and other seagoing life as "incidental catch.” Their philosophy was summed up in this quote:

When you raise cattle, you at least feed them. However, anglers don't feed fish. They just take. They even take the food the fish eat. Sheer avarice.

Not everyone agrees with the CDA's methods, calling them "eco-terrorists.” That's what the FBI thinks (although the FBI agent chasing them is conflicted). You'll have to decide for yourself. Regardless of what you decide, you'll come away with a better understanding of the ocean-environmentalist movement and a good read.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five stars

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