Once, it would have been inconceivable for Steven Seagal to compose a novel about anything besides him punching men in the penis. But times change, and today Seagal has given us The Way Of The Shadow Wolves: The Deep State And The Hijacking Of America, a “book of fiction based on facts.”
Shadow Wolves perfectly encapsulates every far-right American conspiracy theory and worldview into one mad package. Additionally, Seagal’s collaborator, Tom Morrissey, writes like a thousand monkeys disassembled a thousand typewriters and then choked to death on the pieces. So let us travel the way of the Shadow Wolves together, and see what we find.
The Setup: A Seagal Stand-In Takes On The “Deep State”
The Deep State, as the preface explains through leading questions, is a shadowy cabal of bureaucrats, spies, politicians, bankers, journalists, professors, judges, and doctors (?) , and other powerful men and women who are accountable for everything from drug smuggling to fake news to “child exploitation (pedophilia),” all in the title of oppressing the masses. Eric Trump thinks Twitter and Ellen DeGeneres are a part of it, and to give you a feeling of who believes such matters, Amazon says viewers who bought Shadow Wolves might also be interested in the nonfiction Pedophila [sic] & Empire: Satan, Sodomy & The Deep State (Trump Revolution).
Our hero is John Nan Tan Gode, a “Ghost Warrior Called a ‘Shadow Wolf.'” We know that a Shadow Wolf is a elite Native American tracker so in tune with nature that they are basically magic, because John is introduced to us while sitting in a movie theater watching a documentary about Shadow Wolves. This is a timeless composing technique referred to as “Inform, not reveal. Keep telling it each five pages because your readers always pause to yell in teens.” To truly know the mastery of the English language on screen here, let us take a quick Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, including actual quotes from the novel.
— A bunch of four-legged coyotes ran past John’s vehicle.
— After he parked at the match a half hour afterwards, Jimmy had no thought that he was being filmed and watched by a shadowy man with a heart as empty as a cave.
— John replied quickly, almost wishing he hadn’t said his dead grandfather.
The Hero’s Native American Heritage Gives Him Ass-Kicking Superpowers
John is a tribal police officer in Arizona (there’s a true but insignificant non-magical ICE unit also referred to as the Shadow Wolves) who’s worried about “billionaire drug lords” and “that the ‘Other than Mexicans’ … building for what America had never known before — a jihadi caliphate.” Every other interchangeable Shadow Wolf we meet shares his perspectives. In real-life, Native Americans lean heavily Democratic, but in Morrissey’s planet, chiseled aboriginal musicians at the prime of their lives all talk like geriatrics who think that Bill O’Reilly’s biggest failing has been too liberal.
Many stories are too blunt in implying that their hero is a Christlike figure. Shadow Wolves is too blunt in implying that John is a Seagal-like figure. John’s always the smartest, toughest, coolest person in the room. If folks hit John, it hurts them over him. He understands every kind of martial arts. John calls people assholes and then congratulates himself how witty he is. John is called Big John, the big man, and the significant lawman, because Steven Seagal clearly wants that folks called him Big Steve. They can, but maybe not for the reasons he desires.
We’re told that John’s powers come from his grandfather instructing him that the “ancient manners.” These historical manners are not explained, because all of the research Morrissey did for this particular book was through Pinterest’s “vague platitudes” tag. At one point, John convinces a U.S. marshal to assist him by insisting that he is a patriot who wants to maintain the spirit of the American Revolution living, because his Mohawk ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. (The Mohawk fought for the British to defend their land from “patriots.”)
In other completely real Native American features, John has “the spirit of the snake into his bloodline which gave him power over a few people and many snakes.” We never learn what that means, and immediately after being introduced to his power within many snakes, John speaks to a coyotes (the number of legs they have is unspecified). Coyote chat allows John to find a dead body and a Mexican-Arab-Obama conspiracy. That is correct, President Obama. Gasp!
Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, Composing Realistic Native American Rings Model!
— “We are Native Americans, we sit mother earth for anything we desire.” [Note: This can be stated in response to somebody objecting to sitting next to seven corpses.]
— “DC … John Gode … DC … the land of the Redskins.” That was Sunday’s way of making a joke in a significant situation by bringing the politically-correct silliness within the title of that team.
— John made a ghost movement, evading the thrust.
The Composing Shows A Shocking Lack Of Faith In Its Audience
John’s investigation involves chases, shootouts, interrogations, and other theoretically dramatic moments that are written with all the passion of a bank statement, but each scenario plays out the same way. John gets a “gut feeling” about what is happening and what should be done. The other Shadow Wolves either agree with his plan finally fall in line after it’s explained that John’s gut is always correct, so he never needs to explain his logic. John has so many gut feelings that he must start looking into what is obviously the first stages of prostate cancer. At one point, his gut helps him solve a hostage situation, and the chapter smugly ends with “All lives matter. Do they not?” Real sick burn America’s growing pro-hostage-murder movement, Morrissey.
This 220-page novel has less plot than a coloring book. A massive chunk is devoted to John capturing cartel members who create Speedy Gonzales look like Carlos Fuentes. (Morrissey attempts to give them thickness by implying that they’re only uneducated moron criminals because Mexico is nothing but a drug-riddled hellhole.) They move about uncovering the Deep State’s strategy while John always reexplains his aims and the plot to his allies, because this book has much less faith in its own readers than the “Don’t Eat” tag onto a silica packet.
Each bit of dialogue is followed by a sentence which explains the point of what was just mentioned. If Tom Morrissey had composed Harry Potter, it’d read, “You’re a wizard, Harry,” said Hagrid, to be able to inform Harry that he was a wizard. Wizards were people who could do magic. A judicious editor could cut this novel down to an angry YouTube comment.
Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, Elegant Composing Edition!
— A long wailing girl’s scream came from the house. They knew something awful was happening or going to happen.
— “We obtained warrants … federal warrants.” He waved some newspapers at John, indicating that he had been holding the warrants in his hand.
— “Everybody on that show Cheers knew one another’s names because they all lived at that bar. You, however, live in the desert, where no one knows your name, and as soon as it becomes dark they can’t actually see you.”
Virtually Everybody in the Government Has A Hand In One Conspiracy Or Another
John’s elite investigative skills finally lead him to randomly stumble upon a key bit of evidence that was left for him in a coffeemaker. That is announced a brilliant hiding spot, because John has the uncommon personality characteristic of liking coffee. Then his mentor, who also happens to be a high-energy intelligence representative, gives a lecture on the entire plot that he knew about all along, rendering the majority of the book useless. The government has been infiltrated by members of Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS (it’s nice that Hezbollah and ISIS were able to put aside their numerous bitter differences). They are planning, with the help of the Mexican cartel and all those wicked doctors, to “takedown” that the “Great Satan.”
Everyone is in on it. At one point, Special Agent Mo “Dogface” Miner is requested by a FEMA executive, “The fuck are you allowing our cartel-jihadist allies get captured by the locals?” But it turns out, was a complication in the Deep State’s plan to “dip five hundred jihadists up America’s ass in one night,” which they will do by fooling routine state law enforcement using a cover story that they are “crisis actors on their way to a significant exercise.” In Seagal’s planet, each arbitrary cop and soldier understands and accepts that the government uses “crisis actors” to fake mass shootings, but just the wicked police know that some emergency actors are covertly terrorists.
We never hear from Special Agent Mo “Dogface” Miner after that. In reality, multiple personalities receive a chapter devoted to organizing events which are never mentioned. This book abandons more characters and plot points than Steven Seagal has abandoned wives and children.
Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, Compelling Villains Edition!
— “This really isn’t good-bye, my buddy. Think of it more as see you shortly. Since you will … see me shortly.” [Note: The villain never follows up with this threat.]
— General Clap didn’t know the way of this ancient warrior. However, the Shadow Wolves did. [Note: The Shadow Wolves are not in this scene.]
— It had been his biggest achievement in life to have gotten this far, so close to the core of the Great Satan, and now standing poised, with a scepter in the ready, to behead this “supreme evil.” [Note: Metaphors that this mixed are considered toxic.]
The Thrilling Climax
This Tom Clancy following a crippling head injury potboiler culminates in a terrorist plot to simultaneously strike the Las Vegas Strip, the Grand Canyon Skywalk (no!) , the Brooklyn Bridge, the Mall of America, the Sears Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the New York Stock Exchange, and, of course, a small Native-run casino where the mother of 2 personalities happens to work.
Luckily, the cartel-jihadist-doctors throw a raging party on the eve of the attack, during which they smoke hashish, hear “Arabic songs,” and also have women who, cover your eyes children, kiss several men. John and his team infiltrate the party, kill the majority of the baddies, then torture on the head villain for advice. That advice can be used to mainly prevent the strikes. Then we are advised that the American people elected a new president who, in the area of the story which needs the best suspension of disbelief, is “stronger and brighter.”
All told, the 220 pages comprise 111 deaths. In one shootout, an agent, “[takes] all four out with strafing headshots.” This book writes gunfights like a kid recapping Call Of Duty highlights. Afterwards, in a struggle against a terrorist, John Nan Tan Gode, a man who respects life and is deeply connected with nature, taunts his foe by telling him that he’s coated his knife and bullets in pig blood. Seagal and Morrissey believe Muslims react to pigs like Superman responds to Kryptonite, and that it is hilarious.
Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, Making People Root For The Terrorists Edition!
— “How’s that pig blood texture, asshole? Is it beginning to course through your veins, maybe even pissing off the Prophet?”
— He produced a crucifix that he was wearing beneath his shirt. “They treat these issues like they treat them.”
— “Do not think time matters to them,” John said gently, respecting the fact that they had only murdered a little group of men. [Note: Morrissey, you dipshit, you just had him brag about coat his weapons in pig’s blood. You couldn’t write a grocery list.]
Examining This Book’s Target Audience
If this book has a key flaw, it’s that it’s the literary equivalent of being punched in the kidneys by somebody who isn’t Steven Seagal. It thinks a plot is something you shout and that suspense is a pansy liberal myth. It would like you to take seriously the thought which each Muslim is plotting to destroy America and phrases like “Shadow Wolf-only lunch meeting.” It is a hodgepodge of conspiracy theories and far-right bugaboos: FEMA, Benghazi, George Soros, false flag attacks, the murder of Seth Rich, Sharia law in Michigan, wicked Syrian refugees, and much more are all thrown into barely coherent scaremongering rants. This book may be composed like Microsoft Word came to life and immediately began begging for death, but it’s also a primer for getting in the head of people who think Alex Jones has a lot of great ideas.
And then there’s the (sadly predictable) way it treats women. Early on, John attempts to meet a “lady reporter” who delivered him a seductive picture of herself. In Seagal’s world, this is the way “woman investigative reporters” get connected with resources — by mailing them pinup photos. Other role models incorporate the “woman agent who could hold her own,” John’s “lady who had been far more than only a lady,” and also the sole female villain, who attempts to kill John by seducing him. See? They have strong female characters from the Fox News reflect world. Note that the reporteress using the gams is immediately murdered, the “woman agent” is never mentioned previously, and John’s lady is shuffled away from the final battle.
Seagal and Morrissey have devised a world for scared old men whose hatred of immigrants is second only for their hatred of reading. This is a book that’s too cowardly to acknowledge how hurtful it is. Seagal and Morrissey devised a lot of magical Indians who like to taunt kill, and commit war crimes against the enemies of Real America with their ancient spirit powers. And the only thing that the excellent races and the wicked races may agree on is that the ugly, nihilistic belief that America “brought upon themselves their own destruction by their naive concept of justice and equity.”
Steven Seagal has less respect for his lovers than Jim Jones. That he is requesting money for a book that went less editing than the story I wrote about a dinosaur cop once I was ten is borderline criminal. He thinks nothing inside contradicts his claim to become an environmentally aware Buddhist speaks to remarkable hypocrisy or an amazing number of concussions. And at the risk of sounding like a Deep State media elite, the fact that he made the sexually irresistible Native American hero a stand-in for himself is nauseating, believing that he’s been accused of raping a Native American celebrity.
Tom Morrissey Prose Appreciation Break, Human Women Edition!
— “What can you need for weaponry, woman?” John asked. … “I am ‘mama grizzly bear’ ready m’adore,” she assured him. “I would like ‘mama grizzly bare-ass’ ready, but for now we’ll go with everything you got.” [Note: Gross.]
— “I give a damn about you remaining in one bit and continuing to function as man. And I want my man living.”
— Alicia whispered, “I expect he did not pick us up and is now setting up to our arrival.” She looked at John, hoping that he could dismiss her fear. He did.
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