Author Xingu Fawcett does a good job in this tale of that precious commodity, oil, and how it is diverted away from helping the populace and into the deep pockets of big business and the military it controls.
When Robert Towne wrote his Academy Award-winning script, Chinatown, he wanted his “MacGuffin” (Alfred Hitchcock’s term for the object, the acquisition of which drives the story) to be something natural and surrounding. He found this in water, a needed commodity for a sun-baked Los Angeles in the midst of a drought in 1937. A corrupt tycoon, played sinisterly by John Huston, took advantage of the drought to line his pockets by diverting water into the fields outside the city, and then selling the land for outrageous prices.
Fawcett uses oil as his Macguffin, a needed commodity peculiar to our era which gives those who control it—i.e. Middle East leaders—a considerable advantage when dealing with countries addicted to fossil fuels who are willing to pay through the nose for it. Fawcett situates his tale of graft and corruption at the highest levels of government in the banana republic of Brazil, where “tens of billions of barrels of oil” is found. True to form, the government-corporation nexus diverts this cash-rich product away from social programs and into the deep pockets of business leaders and the politicians they control.
The author has a journalist’s eye for detail, grounding the tale in an “authenticity” in the same way O.Henry pioneered in the 19th century, and comic writers like Alan Moore do today. He obeys the cardinal rules of journalism, providing what happened (oil discovered and seized by the government and corporations; where (Brazil); and why (greed).
Unlike other nourish tales of greed among the rich and bent politicians, there is a satisfying sense of justice in Fawcett’s tale as the rich involved in the corruption are tossed in jail, and those who avoid prison are nevertheless hit where it hurts: their money. With such a plot, Fawcett is able to generate some suspense and unlike the film, Chinatown, in which Jack Nicholson’s efforts to save his lover, ultimately end in her murder while the rich tycoon walks off scot free, the rich and their bought politicians are brought to justice.
~Ron Capshaw for IndieReader