by Phil Hunsicker

The Old Crocodile Man Theory

By Phil Hunsicker

331 Pages

ISBN: 978-1-7347600-6-4

Published by Riverplace Press

Reviewed by Charles Johnson

From the first page to the last, Phil Hunsicker’s THE OLD CROCODILE MAN THEORY engages the reader through a potent story that dances between murder, bribery, and reunions of old friends – all tied together with crackling humor and deeply clear descriptions.  And it works!

Author Phil Hunsicker offers the story of Kael, a former Peace Corps worker who leaves a fishing job in Alaska and returns to Central Africa after a ten-year absence to check into the mysterious death of a long-time friend who is found floating in a river in Africa.  Kael faces deeply imbedded bureaucracy, local legends, lost family relations and a string of corruption that betrays his belief in the intricate ecology of the African jungle.    

Author Phil Hunsicker makes the reader feel right at home in the exotic and definitely remote central Africa.  His descriptions are realistic (personal reviewer note: it allowed me to to feel as if I’m right there in their own “normal” world, despite my Minnesota “UFFDA” mentality).  The same goes for the inhabitants of his African villages – culturally so different in so many ways.   Yet, Phil leads the reader to feel comfortable around the difference in climate, in lifestyle, in food preference, in the people.  Along the way, you will meet a group of characters replete with their foibles and flaws.  You will like the ones you’re supposed to like – yet,  be wary of the sketchy ones; they may not be what you think they will be.

Hunsicker’s style brings a level of action involving suspenseful jungle forays.  Chases, madcap rides in ramshackle vehicles and even some hand to hand combats build the reader’s attention to a quick, high pitch.  To balance this, he employs a good dose of witty banter, repartee and interplay – and when I say witty, I mean like the dialogue heard in a good sit-com like M*A*S*H*.  There are puns, jokes, verbal sparrings, and banters that will find the reader chuckling at the good jokes and rolling eyes at the well-designed puns.

Take this list of Alaska, Africa, sudden death, old romantic flings, news reporters, parenthood, thievery, close friends, the black market, bribery, scientific research, jungle life, and bureaucracy.  Now, turn it into a story that is believable, humorous, and personable.  If you do that, you have Phil Hunsicker’s first novel – and what an entertaining and interesting novel you have!