Lead Tin Yellow by Doug Gunnery is a crime thriller set in a sleepy American town and radiating out of the murder of Jason Miller. The story courses along as Jason’s son Robin tracks down his father’s killers. The tale interestingly unfolds several secrets about Jason, a man known for being rather dreary and colourless all his life. Robin, a journalist and a former boxer, eventually succeeds in cornering his father’s murderers while managing to stay ahead of the police all this while.
The writer, a prominent Indian sociologist using a pseudonym, deploys his keen acumen in depicting the nuances of general human behaviour and the subtle give-aways of ordinary unthought deeds. The backdrop of the story starkly contrasts the happenings: a somewhat dysfunctional family is compelled to function in an extremely inconspicuous way to remain safe and camouflaged from Jason Miller’s Vietnam stint. It is the understanding of this that leads a lot of things to start making sense.
With fine literary expertise, Gunnery demystifies the silent salience of unnoticed occurrences in a supposedly normal day in small town US of A. Things are the way they are. And the catch is why they are the way they are. Indifference comes with a price that many pay without being aware of, like the Jason family.
Perhaps it is Robin’s decision to remain indifferent that day when his father visited, that directs the course of the story. Perhaps it is the choice of staying aloof to a critical part of Jason Miller’s life that his wife has a shadowy relationship with her children. It is that extent of utmost discretion that obliges Jason Miller to remain keeping indifferent to his family, for their own good. All his life Jason Miller merely exists like an unexciting creature, also causing his family to turn a certain way, but tragedies serve some purpose too. The assassination of Jason Miller gradually brings together his small fragmenting family.
The story is set in a small American town and explains details of it vividly, giving a glimpse into a normal quiet American life that is different from the impression we get of America from sources such as Hollywood.
This is yet another interesting twist that such an assassination plot is more suited to revolve around the life of rich and influential people living in luxurious houses with loud lifestyles in big cities. But these are ordinary simple people living almost anonymously in suburbs with apparently no exciting tales in life to brag about. So here is a very bland gloss over a thrilling story beneath.
In keeping with the elements of a crime thriller, Lead Tin Yellow is one that keeps the reader guessing without giving away anything before the writer decides to. The adventure, espionage, melodrama, suspense are intricately woven in this cinematically narrated plot that captivate the readers. It is time well spent.