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New World Order

Baghdad, Dubai, Brazil, Mexico, Asia, South Africa, Perth, Australia, Central America: In the eleven stories that make up Derek Green’s New World Order, only one takes place in the United States and in that one, “Cultural Awareness,” the characters are taking a seminar to get ready to spend time working in different lands. Green has taken his decade of experience working as both a journalist and consultant in foreign lands, and created an excellent collection of stories.

Baghdad, Dubai, Brazil, Mexico, Asia, South Africa, Perth, Australia, Central America: In the eleven stories that make up Derek Green’s New World Order, only one takes place in the United States and in that one, “Cultural Awareness,” the characters are taking a seminar to get ready to spend time working in different lands. Green has taken his decade of experience working as both a journalist and consultant in foreign lands, and created an excellent collection of stories.

Green uses either the military, corporate world, or in a few cases, such as the opening story “The Terms of the Deal,” the place where the two combine, to offer settings for his stories, giving reasons for his protagonists to be where they’re at in the world. At least in this go-around, Green isn’t attempting to write from the standpoint of the cultures he’s lived in, instead taking on the viewpoint he would appear to be more familiar with, viewing these other cultures through the eyes of an American. It gives the collection a sense of continuity while allowing him to explore many cultures at the same time.

Another commonality amongst Green’s eleven stories is that fact that they’re packed with plot, which lends itself towards the really good storyteller that Green is. He’s able to get the reader into the story quickly, with solid beginnings that develop the characters instantly, and establishes what is going on in their lives that the reader might be interested in. The pace of the stories is also quick, keeping the reader turning pages, be it to find out how the salesman in “Terms of the Deal” is going to arrange for a handful of soldiers to be able to afford new Harley-Davidsons, or what’s going to happen to Reese, the journalist in “Road Train,” when he takes the wheel of the truck in seemingly deserted Australia, or how Green’s going to make the relationship between Denise Pierce and the very large man in the aisle seat on her flight from China to Los Angeles relevant before the final story, “Almost Home,” ends.

While the reader may only get bits and pieces of what it’s like to live in Baghdad, or Mexico, they get a bigger dose of what it feels like to be an expat: The confusion, and combination of greed and fear, and of both the shame and pride in America. New World Order is a solid collection, with no stories added to bulk up the overall size. Green is a writer whose work I’ll be keeping an eye out for, especially the novel he’s rumored to be working on.

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