Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Wild World by Peter S. Rush

Title: Wild World
Author: Peter S. Rush
Publisher: Prior Manor Press
Publication Date: October 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9990665-0-8

A compelling look at one man trying to change the world for the better – as a cop

Set against the backdrop Of the 1970s, debut novelist Peter Rush provides an enthralling narrative through the eyes of a university student turned police officer on a mission to change the system.

You can’t change a system unless you understand it and are part of it. In May 1970, Steve Logan is a senior at Brown University, deeply in love with his girlfriend Roxy, and on his way to law school at Georgetown. Then the news hits; four students killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State. As Brown’s campus roils with protests, Steve meets a New York City police officer taking on corruption in the force. Steve is inspired by his example; a person making a real difference. Looking for a way to stay with Roxy in Providence, he decides to join the police force and change the system from within. But he soon realizes that his idealism is no match for the hard reality of life as a cop and he must make the most difficult choice of his life: should he do the right thing, despite the costs?

Peter Rush brings the 70s to vivid life in his stunning novel WILD WORLD (Prior Manor Press; September 2017) which is based on his experiences studying at Brown University and as a police officer in Providence. A time of protests to the Vietnam War and a burgeoning feminism movement, he provides a soundtrack to the era with references from Jimi Hendrix to The Doors. At turns tender, humorous, poignant, and hopeful, Rush shows Steve and Roxy fall deeper in love as they spend the summer together.

However, as Steve begins active duty, he witnesses cops being paid to look the other way while crimes are committed. He also sees fellow officers exercise their power to oppress the vulnerable and escalate incidents to violence. At the same time, Roxy is increasingly dismayed by their changing relationship. She is uncomfortable with his gun and seeing him in uniform. His rotating shifts mean he is away at odd hours and they see less and less of each other.

Steve must focus on the one thing he has left; his chance to make a difference. An assignment to type up some false reports in one area of town arouses his suspicions to a larger conspiracy that goes far beyond the force. With the Captain and the rest of the officers either indifferent or hostile towards him, and unable to turn to Roxy or anyone at Brown for assistance, Steve realizes just how high the stakes are and how much it will cost him. He must now find a way to change the system and fight for the love of his life without compromising his principles.

WILD WORLD is a tour de force, both poetic and realistic. Instead of providing readers with a bird’s eye view, Rush immerses them in Steve’s reality as he comes to understand the world around him differently. The book is set in an era not so very different from today, with a burgeoning movement of people committed to social causes, and making a difference in a world determined to maintain the current order. Amidst all this, Rush shows that change is not only possible, but inevitable.
🔸 🔶 🔸

Set against the backdrop of the protest era of the 1970s, an idealistic Brown University grad postpones law school to be near his girlfriend and takes a job in Providence as a police officer - but when he discovers corruption in the department, his determination to overturn the system holds unexpected consequences for his own life.


      As the two-hour session finished, students filtered out, none coming up to shake hands with the cop. Steve and Roxy lingered. “Sergeant, you’re the establishment,” Roxy said. “Do you really think you’re going to change the New York City Police Department?”
      Durk looked carefully at Roxy and then at Steve, eyeing them as if they were suspects.
      He spoke slowly and sincerely. “If I am not there, things go on as usual. When I’m there, they know that a conscience exists and the law must be upheld. Before, I was a pain in the ass they could ignore. Now, I’m in their face. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If it is out of sight, no one cares, but once we show it to people, things happen. What do you plan to do with your life?”
      “I’m going to Georgetown law school in the fall,” Steve said.
      “Another lawyer. Just what the world needs.” Durk looked down at his notes. “Your generation can change the country but you can’t just turn on, tune in, and drop out. You have got to be in it.”
      “Can you just beat people senseless like in they did at the Chicago convention or shoot unarmed people down?” Steve asked. He was trying to understand it from Durk’s vantage. Could one person make a difference?
      “It’s not that simple. The system works, but it’s not a one-shot deal. Life on the street can change in an instant. You can’t wait to be shot—that’s not the job. To be successful, you need commitment, and you will have to deal with the shit. And you will always be in danger of being set up and left out to dry.” He let his words linger a bit, looking at the two kids.
      “I could never shoot anyone, no matter how justified. There are other ways,” Steve said. Roxy moved closer to him. Having said the words, Steve realized he had never really thought about shooting someone. It was an abstract idea from the movies. But Durk wasn’t talking in the abstract.
      “It is a dangerous world. Life is taking chances. Lawyer, that’s safe—make a lot of money and move to the suburbs. But some people pay with their lives—look at the Kennedys and King. You know your history; go back to the Gracchus brothers. You put your life on the line for change.” Durk’s eyes were intense, almost drilling into Steve. He could feel the cop’s passion.
      Steve let the words sink in. Yeah, Classics 101: Roman tribunes assassinated for wanting to represent the Plebeians, the common man. This cop was the real deal.
      “What does your family think after Amherst and everything?” Steve asked.
      Durk laughed. “They think I’m crazy. Not why you went to college, my dad says. But it’s what I want to do.” He stopped for a minute, looking at the now-empty classroom. “What else could they think?”
      Steve had never thought about it as conscience. The Times article had forced the mayor in New York to appoint a commission—for the better. Durk was a realist who was making the system answer. How many more would it take?
      They shook hands firmly while holding each other’s eyes.

“WILD WORLD takes us inside the Vietnam era on campus, and the author captures it perfectly.”
– Mary Ann Tirone-Smith, author of Girls of a Tender Age

About the Author:

Peter S. Rush is a graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, Peace Corps volunteer, and a police officer. He is currently CEO of a global management firm.

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