Ron Fortier

KING OF WEEDS

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Apr 142014
 


KING OF THE WEEDS
By Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
Titan Books
267 pages
Available 6 May 2014

Private Eye Mike Hammer’s closest friend is Homicide Detective Pat Chambers.  The two fought together as Marines in the South Pacific and came home to join the police force together.   But Hammer’s general dislike of authority soon had him setting up his own private shingle while Chambers worked his way up through the ranks as one of the most hard-nosed, honest cops to ever serve people of New York City.  Now, with his promotion to Inspector locked up and a decent retirement only a few years away, an early case from the past resurfaces with newly discovered facts that may derail Chambers’ bright future and smear an otherwise untarnished career.  A man then Officer Chambers had collared for a string of Bowery murders now appears to have been innocent all along and wrongly incarcerated for forty years.

At the same Hammer is gunned down by professional assassin on his way to work one morning.  It is only through blind luck that the two .22 slugs intended to shred his heart are stopped short by a recently purchased….  To say any more would spoil one of the most dramatic openings to any Hammer book ever imagined.  Soon, the aging P.I. and his beautiful assistant, Velda, begin to suspect threads from a previous case are getting them targeted for death.  Buried somewhere in the rugged mountains of the Adirondacks is a cavern containing ninety-billion dollars of stolen mob money stashed away by another of Hammer’s old war buddies.  Before being gunned down, this old foxhole pal confided in Hammer the location of the treasure.  Suddenly a whole lot of people, both lawmen and outlaws, suspect Hammer of knowing the location and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make him reveal it.

Two disparate cases with no apparent connections; one forty years old, the other as fresh as Hammer’s healing bullet wounds.  Yet, as Hammer starts digging into both, his well tested instincts begin sending out warnings that these two cases have a common dominator and unless he can find out exactly where they converge, Pat Chambers stellar reputation will be destroyed and a lot more people will die thanks to the diabolical orchestrations of a criminal fiend known as the King of Weeds.

According to co-author, Max Collins, this book represents the last of six substantial manuscripts Spillane left behind, and was intended to be the last in the series, before he started THE GOLIATH BONE in response to 9/11.  It is also the sequel to the last Hammer published in Spillane’s lifetime, BLACK ALLEY (1997) but can be read as a stand alone entry in the series.

This reviewer has been a Spillane fan from the first time he picked up a Mike Hammer paperback as a teenager in the early 60s.  That these unfinished manuscripts should be completed by the writer chosen s specifically by the character’s creator is a truly remarkable literary achievement in the history of mystery fiction and it is all too obvious that Spillane knew what he was doing all along.  Collins, through his never wavering respect for these characters has delivered them to a finish line Spillane would have been proud of.  Known for using that last sentence in his books like a final punch to put away his critics, Spillane wielded sentences like a surgeon’s scalpel with finesse and razor sharp precision.  A skill he taught this Collins kid and when you read the last line in KING OF WEEDS, like me, you’ll have a wicked smile on your face.  I guarantee it.

LEGION II – SONS OF TERRA

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Apr 072014
 


LEGION II – SONS OF TERRA
By Van Allen Plexico
White Rocket Books
323 pages

One of the things I try my best to do when writing these reviews is to be honest with you, dear readers.  Which is why, if you haven’t read the first book in this series, LEGION I – LORDS OF FIRE, then stop reading this and go out a pick up a copy now!  Once you’ve finished reading it come on back.  Of course, if you decide not to do that, then I have to advise you not to read this second volume.  This in a tightly plotted trilogy and each book is intricately connected.  By itself this book serves no purpose.

That being said, LEGION II – SONS OF TERRA picks up where the first one ended, the human galactic empire having survived a demonic attempt at conquest as orchestrated by dark gods from another dimension.  As this volume begins, the forces of mankind are engaged in stellar warfare throughout the galaxies and two outer world Legions are scattered over too many fronts guaranteeing their ultimate failure.  General Ezekial Tamerlane, the chief aide to Supreme Ruler, suspects the coordinated attacks of their foes coming simultaneously is no coincidence but a well planned scheme by unknown forces.  Have the demons from Underworld returned and if so, who exactly is manipulating them?

Tamerlane’s dear friend and ally, General Agrippa of the Third Legion, is battling overwhelming alien armies with psychic weaponry and the defeat of his troops is imminent unless Tamerlane can muster fresh reserves to come to their aid.  This he plans to accomplish by convincing General Iapetus to deploy his Legion II Sons of Terra in these outer world battles. But Iapetus, ordered by the Supreme Leader, Nakamura, to defend the planet Earth, has no intentions of wasting his legions on what he sees as a futile endeavor and ignores Tamerlane’s request.

Unable to fathom Iapetus’ blatant insubordination, Tamerlane finds himself challenged both from without and within; surrounded by strange forces, demonic spies and suspicious agents of the Holy Church whose actions continue to fuel his paranoia.  All of which comes to a startling confrontation on the Empire planet of Ahknaton where, in blood and death, the enemy will be revealed and all masks removed from friend and foe alike.

Not since Frank Herbert’s DUNE books has there been such an intricately plotted space saga that echoes all the action of the early days of science fiction yet is tempered with the talented sensibilities of a modern day pulp adventure.  What never fails to amaze me is, in the midst of these clashing futuristic armies and navies, Plexico still manages to define his characters so distinctly as to make them compelling.  He never loses sight of the fact that no matter how grandiose in scope a story may be, it must never overshadow the simple truths of its characters.  LEGION II SONS OF TERRA is another amazing chapter that leaves us anticipating the final book with so nail-biting anxiousness.
For this reviewer, it can’t get hear fast enough.

PURSUED

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Mar 282014
 


PURSUED
By Charles Boeckman
Worldwide Imprints
150 pages

Sometimes we reviewers have a tough job finding the adequate words to describe our experiences reading books.  The challenge in reviewing any Charles Boeckman book is what can you say that hasn’t already been repeated numerous times in regards to a 92 year old pulp writer who has been at this writing game most of his adult life? 

Really, not a hell of a whole lot.  Thus the wise course is to simply describe in some small detail the actual plot and tell you ahead of time this is a damn good book.  Boeckman doesn’t know how to write any other kind.

Lauran McCaully works for a radio station along the east coast of Texas.  One night, while driving home, she is run off the road by two men in a black sedan.  It is all too clear that they mean to kill her and Lauran flees her wrecked car into the brutal countryside hoping to escape them.  She manages to reach the isolated ranch of Deputy Sheriff Lee Walton, a widower living by himself.  Hurt and weakened by her ordeal, Lauran is helpless and Walton quickly administers to her wounds, gets her fed and allows her a night’s rest in his own bed.  The following morning she is able to give him a cohesive account of what happened to her on the road.

At the same time, Lee is emotionally surprised at how much he is attracted to this lovely, desperate woman.  The attraction is mutual as both quickly get to know each other in the coming days.  Although Lee believes Lauran’s accounts of the attempt on her life, his boss, a political ambitious sheriff has other thoughts.  When Lauran’s abandoned car is found miles from the scene of the accident it has the body of a dead man in it; a lawyer Lauran had done computer work for in the past.  The sheriff publicly accuses her of killing the man over some romantic entanglement and having concocted the entire automobile attack as a means of throwing suspicions away from herself.

Lauran is living an ever escalating nightmare.  Not only did two men attempt to murder for reasons she can’t fathom, but now it looks like she is being framed for the murder of a dear friend.  But she is not alone in her plight, as Lee Walton finds the circumstances surrounding the entire affair too coincidental and his instincts tell him Lauran is being set up.  Risking his career, he quits his jobs to help prove her innocence and learn who the real killers are.

Now all this would be enough of a thriller plot as is, but Boeckman amps it up even further by setting it against the arrival of a category five hurricane that threatens the entire town should tidal waters crest the beach front barricades.  And in the middle of all this, a secret from Lauran’s past re-emerges posing as yet another threat to both her and the man she has irrationally fallen in love with.

“Pursued,” is the embodiment of what a fast paced, pulp thriller is all about.  There is not a single miscue in the entire tale and it will keep you turning pages at lightning speed, as if the hurricane in the book had leaped out of the pages to rail against the reader’s own imagination.  To write like this is both a talent and the result of years of hard work and dedication.  The blessing for we readers is Boeckman shows no signs of letting up and I full expect to be reviewing his stuff when he turns 100.  Just bloody amazing!!!

SOUL QUEST

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Mar 202014
 


SOUL QUEST
By Percival Constantine
Pulp Work Press
400 pages

This wonderful, sci-fi fantasy adventure is the longest work Percival Constantine has ever done.  It’s also his best to date.  And that’s saying a lot.  Having enjoyed his work since he first popped up on the New Pulp scenes a few years ago, what impressed me the most was how each new book revealed a growing, maturing talent that was constantly improving.  His last few offerings have been exceptional and “Soul Quest” simply knocks it out of the ballpark.  It is a solid, literary homerun.

Set in a colorful alien, world, the story centers on a crew of Sky Pirates.  Their ship, the Excalibur, is well known, and dreaded, throughout the shipping lanes of various empires.  Swordsman Zarim is her captain and his crew is made up of the boomerang hurling Ekala, a beautiful thief, and the winged faerie tough guy, Swul.  When Zarim’s mystic mentor, Master Quand, sends them on a mission to find five powerful gems said to possesses unimaginable power, their lives are quickly turned upside down.

What Quand fails to tell them is that the High Priest of the city-state of Serenity, Vortai, is also seeking the very same gems for his own nefarious ends.  When Zarim and the others are nearly killed retrieving the first two stones, Quand is forces to confess the full extend of the legend behind the powerful rocks.  Whoever possesses all five will absorb their power and be able to remake the world in his, or her, image.  In other words become a god.  Considering Vortai’s streak of sadistic cruelty, Zarim and his pals understand immediately that he cannot be allowed to triumph in his quest.  If they don’t find and collect the stones before Vortai, the world as they know it will cease to be.

And on that plot road, Constantine puts forth all manner of terrific, fun and original characters, both good and bad.  Traversing this amazing new fantasy world, the Excalibur’s ranks swell with the addition of Tanus, a former officer in the Dreadnaught Navy, Reyche, a religious devotee turned vampire and Liran, a white furred humanoid catwoman warrior from the frozen north.  Whereas Vortai has his own cadre of relentless killers ready to foil Zarim and his team at every turn.

“Soul Quest” reminded me a great deal of those early Ace Paperbacks in which I first discovered science fiction and fantasy as a teenager.  The action never stops; the heroes are true romantic rogues in the classic sense and the villains as dastardly as they come.  For a big book, “Soul Quest” moved at such breakneck speed, I read through it quickly only to be both satisfied and sad to see it end.  Zarim and the crew of the Excalibur are wonderful characters and I really am keeping my fingers crossed we’ll see them again soon.

EL MOSAICO – The Road to Hellfire

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Mar 072014
 


EL MOSAICO
Vol II – The Road to Hellfire
By Michael Panush
Curiosity Quills Press
189 pages

After reading Michael Panush’s first collection starring his western Frankenstein-like monster last year, I was eager to dig into this second volume. This one contains seven new tales of Clayton Cane, a man assembled by a Confederate scientist during the last days of the Civil War from the parts of dead soldiers.  Hoping to replenish the ranks of the failing Southern legions, the scientist used voodoo magic to animate the man he had stitched together but then perished before he could duplicate the process. Thus El Mosaico, as he is called by Mexicans, is one of a kind, roaming the world seeking purpose and salvation.  Or so he believes.

In RATS, Cane finds himself in New York City at the bidding of a several powerful politicians.  A rat infestation has been plaguing their district and they hire Cane to find the source and eliminate the pests.  But to do so the stitched-up hero must confront a vengeful wraith and put it to rests as only he can.

In APACHE GOLD, Cane and a lady school teacher are captured by a gang of outlaws and dragged along into the Arizona wilderness to find an old Spanish gold mine now protected by the angry spirits of long dead Conquistadors.

AT COFFIN’S CLOSE brings the patchwork gunfighter to New Orleans to help the only friend he ever had; a man dead for many years.  It’s a gruesome tale of voodoo, zombies and a fanatical ex-Confederate Officer bent on taking control of the city.  One of our favorites from this collection.

Then Cane hires out as a guard on a wagon train going through the high mountains in the deep of winter.  While crossing the cursed stretch known as BLOOD PASS, they are set upon by a brood of vampires and quickly imprisoned in caves to be fed upon.

THE MAKING OF A GUNSLINGER has Clayton Cane crossing paths with an Eastern writer of dime novels who wants to chronicles his exploits.  But when the two encounter an old foe from Cane’s past, neither may live long enough to finish any story at all.

Next Cane travels to San Francisco’s Chinatown and hires out to a Tong leader whose opium den is being haunted by a malevolent HUNGRY GHOST.  When he learns the secret behind this voracious poltergeist, Cane switches allegiances to lie to rest a suffering soul.

As in others of his collections, Panush ends this one with a novella; ON ANGEL’S WINGS. Cane is followed by a motley crew of past acquaintances to a Texas town called Hellfire which is about to be set upon by the very man who created him, Dr. Adolphus Angell.  Cane had assumed Dr. Angell had perished in the last days of the Civil War but now learns his creator is not only alive but has made a company of patchwork men fashioned after Cane and with them plans on conquering the world.  To do so he requires unique minerals found in the land beyond Hellfire called the Silver Mesa.  Thus to reach this spot and mine the sought after element he is willing to slaughter an entire town unless Cane stop him.

ON ANGEL’S WINGS is a great finale bringing Clayton Cane’s story full circle as he confronts the evil genius who made him and must wrestle with his own destiny.  Can a man created only for war aspire to something grander?  The gunfighter known as El Mosaico is about the find the answer to the question as will those readers smart enough to grab this truly outstanding book.  If you like weird westerns, they do not come any better than this.

SUPEREME JUSTICE

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Feb 232014
 


SUPREME JUSTICE
By Max Allan Collins
Thomas & Mercer
284 pages
Available June 2014

After taking a bullet for the President he personally despised, Secret Service Agent Joseph Reeder collected his partial pension and called it quits.  Now he operates his own security business in the nation’s capital and is fairly content with his life.  All that changes when a Supreme Court Justice is shot dead during the audacious daylight robbery of a swank D.C. restaurant.  Reeder is recruited by Gabe Sloan, an old F.B.I. friend, to help with the investigation.  Nicknamed “Peep” by his former associates, Reeder is a student of kinesics; the art of reading body language and his observation skills are legendary.

Asked to examine video footage of the robbery and shooting, Reeder is able to see through the subterfuge of the incident and discovers that the Justice’s murder was in fact a deliberate assassination.  Sloan has him report his findings to his superiors at the Bureau and an inter-agency task force is put together to find the killers.  Twenty four hours later a second Justice is gunned down outside his home and what had begun as an isolated act of violence is quickly turned into a full-blown threat against the highest court in the land.

In Joe Reeder, Max Collins has invented up a compelling, quirky and totally believable hero caught up in a twisted mystery with enough twists and turns as to leave a crossword junky dizzy.   Teamed with Patti Rogers, a smart and tenacious F.B.I. agent, Reeder is a modern day Sherlock Holmes matching wits with an unknown advisory whose ultimate goal is nothing less than altering the landscape of American jurisprudence for generations to come.

Collins’ ability to capture the social and political schism of our times delivers a truly frightening and plausible scenario.  “Supreme Justice” is a taut thriller you will not be able to put down once you’ve picked it up.  This is a master at work. 

HITLER’S GIRLS

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Feb 132014
 


HITLER’S GIRLS
By Emma Tennant & Hilary Bailey
OR Books
214 pages

The title to this book intrigued us when we were first contacted by the publisher’s marketing representative.  In the write-up we learned this was a thriller whose plot revolved around a possible British heir to Adolf Hitler.  The book delivers that in a straight forward, slightly humorous vein that almost skirts the side of a Black Comedy, though it is clearly not that.

Matronly Jean Hastie is a Scottish art historian and as far removed from the traditional hero-figure most of us are use to seeing in such conspiracy tales.  When her childhood friend, Monica Sterling, whom she has not seen in many years. is murdered on her own doorstep by an all-girl street gang high on drugs, Jean travels to London to see after Sterling’s only daughter, Melissa, who is also her goddaughter.

Upon her arrival, she learns from the police that Mel is the primary suspect in her mother’s murder.  Then, Jean discovers Monica’s secret diary and learns the truth about her old school chum.  Monica was the daughter of a flighty British heiress, who, as a young woman, traveled to Berlin and was seduced by the leader of the Third Reich.  Born on a secluded island off the Scottish coast, the baby girl was given up to adoption by the secret society that had manipulated her birth in the first place.  Before the end of the war, Hitler and his stooges had locked away millions of dollars in a Swiss Bank account.  The account numbers were given Monica’s real mother and then later, in a very surreptitious fashion, passed down to her for safe keeping.

Upon learning of her true lineage, Monica was repulsed at being the daughter of such fiend and vowed to never let the conspirators discover the account numbers.  She is murdered only days after her last entry in the dairy and thus it is left to Jean to avenge her friend, save Melissa and thwart this new Nazis plot.  All in a day’s work for a Scottish art historian who abhors violence.  “Hitler’s Girls,” is something original in a well-worn genre and sparkles with both wit and suspense.  As ludicrous as the plot seems, once the characters begin telling their tales, we were totally seduced by it all.

One of the goals of Pulp Fiction Reviews is to showcase new and different books of quality and high imagination.  “Hitler’s Girls,” fills that bill…and then some.

THE THIEF

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Feb 082014
 


THE THIEF
(An Isaac Bell Adventure)
By Justin Scott
Character created by Clive Cussler
Berkeley Books
420 pages

Every single time I finish a new Isaac Bell book by Justin Scott, I feel both satisfied and sad.  Satisfied in that Scott has one again entertained me with his exploits of the turn-of-the-century Van Horn Detective Agency’s chief detective; sad that I now have to wait for the next one.

The real joy of this series is its setting in history at a time when science and technology were altering the world on such a grand scale; it truly was an age of marvels and wonders.  In the midst of all these remarkable achievements, as is always the case, the eternal war between good and evil continued to rage.  While wondrous inventions made the lot of mankind easier, lessening the burden of daily toil, it also provided men of power with the incredible tools to subjugate less advanced nations.

Imperialism was on a crash course with democracy and a World War loomed just over the horizon.  This is the era of Isaac Bell and the love of his life, Marion.  In “The Thief,” we are happy attendants at their wedding aboard the magnificent ocean liner, the Mauretania.  At the same time, Bell fatefully comes to rescue of two scientists about to be kidnapped by German spies.  He soon learns that the men have developed a new process that will make talking motion pictures possible.  As Marian is a director of silent movies, she quickly educates her new husband on the importance of such a device and how it could revolutionize the media.  Still, Bell is puzzled as to why the Imperial German Government is so obsessed with possessing what he sees as a mere entertainment device.

Before the ship can reach the docks of New York, the older inventor is murdered by a German spy known as the Acrobat leaving only his young protégé with the knowledge of how to produce the new “talking” film machines.  Bell vows to product the young man and escorts him to small town in California called Hollywood.  Along the way Bell has to stop several attempts to kidnap the inventor, all orchestrated by the Acrobat.  Although filled with authentic movie history set pieces, Scott keeps the action moving flawlessly leading up to a fantastic climax confrontation between Bell and the Acrobat you don’t want to miss.  Thumbs way up on another great Isaac Bell novel.

STRANGE TRAILS

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Jan 092014
 


STRANGE TRAILS
Edited by James Palmer
A Mechanoid Press Book
182 pages

Weird westerns have become highly popular among new pulp readers of the past five years with lots of major publishers getting in on the act.  Now comes this collection of six such tales by some of the best scribes in new pulp fiction as edited by James Palmer.

Josh Reynolds leads the pack with his Pinkerton agent in, “Mr. Brass and the Mass of Serpents.”  Imagine a steampunk western mash up with Lovecraftian horrors and you have this fast moving entry wherein Mr. Brass, accompanied by a young occultist named Warren and the legendary black lawman, Bass Reeves, must get their prisoner aboard the 3:10 airship to the federal prison while fighting off a hosts of snake-people.  Though the story is fun, its glimpsed into an alternate world is much too brief and left this reader feeling cheated.  There’s obviously a whole lot more to Reynold’s creation than what we were given here.

“Sins and Lilies,” is offered up by Tommy Hancock and newcomer Morgan Minor.  When a small town sheriff encounters a beautiful ghost being held in servitude by a twisted Sin-Eater, he challenges the black-hearted villain for her very soul. A gem of tale wonderfully executed.

Next up is Barry Reese’s “The Mechanical Heart: a Tale of Julia Holst and the Weird West,” which immediately wins him the prize for the anthologies longest title. Julia is a woman who seeks out mysteries and in a small mining town she runs into a truly unique being; a robot vampire named Timothy. Reese’s tale is cleverly set forth and totally avoids the kind of clichéd pitfalls such a plot would invite.  Instead he delivers a brilliant story that is by far one of the finest he has ever put to paper.  It alone is worth the price of admission.

Writer Ed Erdelac’s “The Alkeldama Dig,” is the most horrific entry as it tells the story of a miner offered five thousands to dig into a rich man’s grave from beneath it to claim a valuable deed.  Instead of wealth, the hapless fellow finds a treasure of monstrous evil at the end of his tunnel.

“Mummy Train,” by James Palmer is a rollicking action packed yarn that takes place on a train and has a gunfighter and magician joining forces to combat a group called the Cadre set upon stealing ancient Egyptian artifacts being transported on the train. In the process a mummy is revived and does battle with a mechanical man which had me envisioning scenes from old Universal Monster movies. 

Still, this is the third story out of six in which a humanoid automaton appears and that is bothersome.  We would have preferred Editor Palmer be more selective in his choosing entries and not repeat the same themes.

Finally the book goes out with a whopping bang in writer Joel Jenkins’ “The Eye of Ulutoh.”  This features Jenkins’ highly popular Indian occult fighter, Lone Crow as he and a female gunfighter, aboard a Costa Rican steamship, fight an otherworldly monster from the ocean’s dark depths.  It’s a colorful, well written story that had us wanting to find more Lone Crow tales.  Clearly our second favorite in the colletion.

STRANGE TRAILS is, like all such anthologies, a mixed bag but we’ve no hesitation in recommending it as all six stories are competently crafted and totally entertaining.  Now isn’t that the purpose of any book?  Kudos to Mechanoid Press and we do hope there will be future volumes of these weird westerns yarns.

SUSPECT

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Jan 042014
 


SUSPECT
By Robert Crais
Berkeley Books
339 pages

As a book reviewer, we get lots and lots of promotional material from various publishers every time a new book comes out.  All of this material is geared to entice us to read their books.  Of course most of it is the same homogenized spiel repeated over and over again until it becomes impossible to distinguish one book from another.  That is why the marketing rep who penned the promotional package for Robert Crais’ newest thriller is a genius.  You see, what he/she explained in the first paragraph of Berkeley Book’s flier was the fact that Crais, after decades of writing best selling novels, has never once agreed to allow any of them to be filmed.  He’s obviously not a big fan of movie adaptations.  But that is all about to change because Crais has found a film outfit he is willing to work with and the book he wants to see on screen is “Suspect.”

Well, if that isn’t an original hook, we don’t know what is.  We were immediately intrigued as to why this particular book was so unique to the author amongst all the others he’s done in the past.  We asked to receive a review copy.  It arrived in time to be our first review of 2014 and after devouring it, we’re thrilled to say the New Year at Pulp Fiction Reviews is off with winner.

Scott James is a Los Angeles police officer.  One night, he and his partner, Stephanie Anders, are caught in a brutal crossfire when they witness the murder of two successful businessmen by a gang of masked men.  Stephanie is killed and Scott terribly wounded.  Months later, after completing physical therapy and while under a psychiatrist care, Scott manages to get himself reinstated for duty.  He is haunted by Anders death and guilt ridden.  Reluctant to be teamed with another officer, Scott request reassignment to the K-9 division of the LAPD.  His logic, dogs don’t talk. 

At the dog training facility, Scott is about to be paired with one animal when he sees a beautiful female German Shepherd with scars on her backside.  Curious, he inquires as to how the animal was injured.  He learns she was a former Marine Scout Dog and while on patrol in Afghanistan, was shot twice while attempting to save her trainer who died from an I.E.D roadside explosion.  Scott learns that Maggie, the dog, also bears her own emotional scars and no one at the kennel expects her pass the rigorous tests required for her to be certified.  Scott, because of his own issues, recognizes that he and Maggie share a great deal and convinces the Sergeant Leland, the man in charge of the unit, to let him have Maggie.

From that moment on, Crais skillfully weaves his story between both the human and the dog, allowing us to see their individual fears exposed through the budding relationship each is building with the other.  Maggie lives to love and serve; it is how all dogs are wired; whereas Scott’s own reservations are daunting.  When he eventually begins to open his heart to Maggie’s purity, his life begins to have purpose again.

Eventually new clues surface as to the identity of the gang who ambushed the businessmen and Scott, through a friendly detective, is pulled back into the case.  At first he is cautiously optimistic and then as new leads begin to surface, the mystery elements of the plot take center stage.  Only now, Scott is the not alone in his quest for justice but he is faithfully assisted by a truly remarkable, brave, four-legged ally.  We haven’t encountered such a wonderful dog hero since Dean R. Koontz’s Einstein in his classic fantasy adventure, “The Watchers.”  Believe us, Maggie, is just as memorable a hero and this is one of those rare books that you will hate to see come to a close.

So, let me conclude with this one thought.  Hollywood, you’ve been given a gem of a tale to bring to the silver screen. As in all such adaptations, casting will be all important and somewhere out there, you had best find the next Rin-Tin-Tin.  Maggie deserves nothing but the best you have to give.

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