STAND ALONE PAGES

Friday, October 12, 2007

Catching Up

I thought it might be nice to do a little catching up today. I haven’t had much time to spend writing reviews, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I always read. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have a novel or two on my nightstand. I’d probably go crazy. So here are three quick and dirty reviews of novels I’ve finished in the last several weeks.

Now You See Her by Chris Shea McCarrick. This is an older novel—published in 1993 by Jove Books—that was actually written by Ed Gorman. I wish I had a scanner, because the cover is kind of cool. It looks like an older Dean Koontz title. There is an abandoned station wagon in front of a rising moon; the driver-side door is open with a purse and eyeglasses on the pavement below.

A young girl is kidnapped from the side of a deserted highway in Illinois, and there are no suspects. The small town Sheriff calls in the State boys, and anybody else he can think of because the girl is the daughter of a very wealthy and important man. Nothing is quite as it appears in this entertaining novel, and while it is not Gorman’s best, it does showcase many of his usual themes—working class versus upper class, a brooding protagonist and bad guys who surprisingly are just as bad as they should be. Not to mention a few surprises and plotting that keeps the story interesting.

The Money Gun by Robert J. Randisi. The Money Gun is a quick western novel by the master of the quick and entertaining western. It chronicles the careers of a bounty hunter and a money gun—they are both aging, and the story develops along two distinct threads. The first tells how the two met, and the second shows us where they have come over the years.

The Money Gun is fun and very entertaining. It isn’t Randisi’s best work, but it is told with his usual competence. The characters are fun, and the action is developed well. In other words, it is exactly what it’s supposed to be: fun, fast, and very escapist.

Sightings by Charles D. Taylor. Charles Taylor is a writer who I enjoyed as a teenager in the 1990s—he wrote military thrillers that were filled with exotic locations, tough men, and beautiful women. In December 1993 his novel Sightings was published by Pocket Books, and I can still remember purchasing a copy at Kmart. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to reading it until a few weeks ago.

Sightings begins when a man who is listed as Missing in Action is seen at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial taking a rubbing of his own name off the wall. This one sighting sets in motion a bevy of action that uncovers an international criminal enterprise that is very nearly beyond belief. It really is beyond belief! The action moves nicely between Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong to Bangkok, and while Sightings does have substantial bloat—seventy-plus pages could have been removed—it is a fluid, interesting, and readable novel. Although if you're looking to read Charles Taylor for the first time I would recommend finding Boomer instead.

I also have a new review of Luke Cypher's The Outcast posted over at Saddlebums.

No comments: