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LocalLit book review: Mokena author delivers novel of heroism inspired by 9/11

‘A Dangerous Freedom’ captures lasting impact of events 20 years ago

I read “A Dangerous Freedom” by John Ruane last weekend, the story of a modern-day sharpshooter saving his part of the world from deadly attacks.

The story opens with a group of Chicago high school students reacting to the events of Sept. 11, 2001 as they unfold and how those events permanently impact those students.

But the heart of the story really begins when picture-perfect couple Dylan and Darlene (so gorgeous together and separately that people stare at them as they walk down the street) visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York and another terrorist attacks breaks out. When the couple returns to Chicago, they witness another attack while they are out shopping and enjoying ice cream.

But the attacks settle down and the world soon forgets about the violence, so the couple attends a music festival in Chicago. A second attack breaks out, which kills Darlene. At this point, Dylan fights back. He buys a pearl-handled six-shooter, trains with an ex-Marine and then starts taking on the bad guys all by himself, quite successfully, to help protect innocent lives.

The book’s Amazon description calls “A Dangerous Freedom” an action thriller, but I feel most of the book is too slow-paced for that label. Some chapters actually have little to none action or dialogue, just exposition, back story and/or social commentary. That isn’t necessarily bad, but good to mention, lest readers think they are embarking on a swift page turner.

Who might enjoy this book? People who like novels based on 9/11. People who like a balance between action and reflection in their novels. People who like novels that raise certain social questions without necessarily giving away the answers. And people who need some escape from the stressors from the last year and a half.

Finally, it’s nice to believe, if only for a little while, that the focused actions of one determined person can save the world.

Buy “A Dangerous” on Amazon.

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