It’s regrettable that the hero of our story, Cole Walker, doesn’t make an appearance until Chapter 10. But hey, that’s how it goes.
I like to think of my novels as movies on paper and if the hero appears in the tenth of the first ten minutes, no one would complain, but people ten to hold the written word to a different standard.
We see some character development. Cole is prickly, grizzled, angry. You begin to wonder why.
Rusty is more laid back. Happy go lucky. Goes with the flow. These two compliment each other.
Cole’s rant about whether or not America should get involved in a war tells you about Cole, i.e. he doesn’t care about glory or being the hero, he just realizes that getting into a bad situation will just make the situation worse.
Moreover, he summarizes what has been America’s response to war since the invention of television. Reporters slap politicians with images of the war in a third world country. Politicians get involved. War goes south. Reporters complain the war isn’t over yet. Politicians allow themselves to be backseat driven. They hold back on giving the troops what they need so rather than let the troops do what they were sent to do, the whole thing just becomes an unwinnable quagmire.
American’s just don’t have the stomach for long, protracted wars in the TV/Internet age. Perhaps that’s a good thing. At any rate, better to not get in the war at all if no one is willing to win it.
Also, we have yet to meet the mayor but we get the impression already he’s a bit of a dick.