Michael Kenneth Smith
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (10/16)
“Scarred” by Michael Kenneth Smith is a historical fiction novel that captures the reader’s attention from the very first page. The author’s writing is very descriptive of the era and characters are well developed.
The book centers on Zach Harkin, a Union sharpshooter. When his best friend is killed, Zach is out for revenge. After killing a Confederate sharpshooter, he comes into possession of the man’s journal and a picture of his wife. Zach feels he needs to make amends to the man’s wife and son for his actions. During his search for this woman, Zach is captured by the Confederates and is imprisoned in Libby Prison, which is notorious for neglect, abuse, and death of its prisoners under the control of Captain Wirtz, who was later killed for his actions at the prison.
Upon his return home, Harkin sticks mostly to himself. Chris Martin, a reporter for the New York World, has been given the job of trying to get the recluse to talk about his experiences during the war. Eventually, Chris gains Harkin's trust and he tells his story for the first time. The first articles relating to Harkin's story have become the “talk of the town” making big profits for the newspaper. However, Martin’s boss wants him to change his story to what the readers want to hear as opposed to the truth. Martin refuses to do so, even though it may cost him his job and his relationship with his fiancée.
"Scarred" by Michael Kenneth Smith is well written, informative and sometimes gut-wrenching. The cover is well presented and the story will keep readers engaged up to the very last pages. Smith has a great skill in drawing his readers into each character and scenario. The difference in Smith’s book in comparison to others I have read is that it provides just enough facts about the Civil War so as not to bog down the reader. Five Stars!