Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Short Heads-Up Reviews
I recently finished reading a couple novels you might find interesting. One is Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher novel, Nothing to Lose. The other is John Camp's (under his pseudonym, John Sandford) latest Lucas Davenport, Phantom Prey.
Child's character, Jack Reacher, is a former MP officer who travels about with no more than the clothes he's wearing, a toothbrush, and a bank card. A typical Reacher novel has him blow into a town, get involved in some bad situation through no fault of his own, then addressing the problem by kicking carloads of ass. If you are a Travis McGee fan, you'll recognize Reacher, since he could easily be Trav's bastard grandson. (McGee quiz of the day -- two points, but only if you can do it from memory and not by looking for it on the web: Meyer is Travis's best buddy. Who is Miss Agnes?)
Nothing to Lose is typical Reacher, the -- I think -- 12th adventure -- and Reacher makes other Competent Men look like Keystone Cops. These books are a guilty pleasure for me -- this guy fights like Mel Gibson shoots in Lethal Weapon -- great fun to watch, totally unbelievable ...
Lucas Davenport is a former cop, now working for a state agency, the Minnesota BCA -- the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension -- as an investigator, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He's rich, having started a computer game biz that he sold; married to a surgeon, whose name is "Weather;" a father; and has impeccable fashion sense. At one point, the Governor of the state tells him that socks and sleepwear should always be slightly gay, and he realizes this is true ...
Daveport is not nearly as invulnerable as Reacher -- he's been shot up a few times and he makes missteps, but he always gets the job done. There are eighteen "Prey" novels that center around Davenport, and a couple others that feature other cops with Davenport doing a minor role.
Camp has also written several novels featuring Kidd, a computer thief and artist, who gets mentioned in the Prey books now and again.
If you are looking for a good way to while away an evening, either of these writers are worth the trip, and if you like these books, there are enough others in the series to keep you going for a couple months.