Review: The Way of the Shadow Wolves (2017)

The book represents Steven Seagal’s debut novel

If you aren’t familiar with Steven Seagal, you obviously don’t waste as much time as I do. Steven Seagal is a martial artist, actor, guitarist/singer, former reserve deputy and crypto-currency promoter who kicked his way to Hollywood stardom with action films in the late 1980s to early 1990s. However, his prideful work ethic and multiple box office flops caused his celebrity status to wane and taint.

Celebrities including Charlize Theron have called out his lazy action moves. Perhaps the more respectful statements regarding him by another action star were from the late, great Sean Connery, relaying a story of how Seagal accidentally broke Connery’s wrist (yes, that really happened). However, Seagal’s experience in politics paired with his, uh, gift of storytelling drove him to write, “The Way of the Shadow Wolves: The Deep State and Hijacking of America”, a fictional book based on fact, according to Seagal.

His debut and the second book overall, the first allegedly being, “FIGHT Abdominal Fat: How to Lose Stubborn Belly Fat and Get Flat Sexy Six Pack Abs the Right Way”  (…I’m not joking). This book appears pretentious, ridiculous and humorous. Sometimes looks are not deceiving.

The plot follows Arizona Tribal Police Officer, John Gode, discovering that Jihadists and the Cartel have joined forces to infiltrate our country and set up a “Jihadi Caliphate”, (yes, it’s spelled that way). Things take a darker turn when John’s mother is kidnapped by the jihadists. To save her, John must employ his martial arts and supernatural power over rattlesnakes (just go with it), calling upon an elite group of secret soldiers called “Shadow Wolves”.

This (obviously) independently published book was written with the help of David Morrissey and controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Where do I begin? How about the random scene where John receives a sexy photo taken and sent from a reporter as a “motivator to get him in touch” for an interview? Is that really how the press works? Creepy. Or a-boggling subplot where the jihadists and Catholics team up to spark terrorism, as John describes, “It all comes down to money. The jihadists have plenty of it, and the Catholics…want plenty of it.” You know, with Seagal’s obvious views on Catholicism, I’m surprised Hollywood doesn’t employ him more often.

There are also bizarre writing choices, such as the simile, “He felt as empty as a hollow cave in which nothing dwelt, ever.” Uh, okay. Or when John’s mom gets kidnapped and all she says in response is “Oh no”? Or the scene where a character explains the jihadists plan to “blow up the Mall of America…hit the Statue of Liberty a short time after…Then…do somethin’ at the Sears tower. This is heavy shit, man.” There’s also the time where John discusses immigration, comparing a country to a boat which can only hold a certain number of people. Subtle as a crowbar to the crotch.

There are two moments where the characters quote Western movies; “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (“Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’.”) at the beginning and “Tombstone” near the end (“Hell’s comin’ with us”). From personal author experience, if you reference another property, please make sure it’s not infinitely better than yours. During this, a side character says to Gode upon catching the “Tombstone” reference, “…don’t you go thinking this is some sort of movie plot. Okay?” John replies, “No…Hollywood can always take something bad and make it worse.” Oh. That’s why Hollywood doesn’t employ him.

In conclusion, all my thoughts of this graceless, careless think-piece in book format are expressed in the response the second party gives to Seagal’s, I mean, John’s thoughts of Hollywood. “This is badder than worse. Let’s not get caught up in that shit.”

Too bad I did by reading this.

Review: 2/5

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