Sunday, February 10, 2008

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Few things make me happier than reading a good book. It's wonderful to discover a terrific author whose work I hadn't read before, and there are plenty of new and well-established authors I have yet to read in all sorts of genres. One of my latest finds is Ray Banks. Since I've been writing reviews for fun (but not profit, alas), I thought I'd share some of them on this blog, from time to time. So here goes.

Saturday's Child
By Ray Banks

Ex-con and unofficial PI Callum Innes has no choice but to help gang lord Morris Tiernan find an employee who’s disappeared with some of Morris’s money. But Tiernan’s nasty son, Mo, has sinister plans for Cal, when the time is right.

The badly beaten man left for dead in this novel is only a subplot. The main story is Cal’s quest to find the employee and figure out how he’s going to stay out of trouble while doing so. The police think he’s responsible for the beating, and every time Cal gets a little closer to finding the missing employee something violent happens.

There’s plenty to like about this fast paced novel. The dialogue’s terrific and the author’s narrative descriptions are amazing. Check out Cal’s sparring match with his friend, Paulo, on pages 109 to 112. Wow. Also strong are Cal’s and Mo’s voices. The story’s told from two points of view, both first person and in present tense, yet it’s easy to identify who’s speaking simply by the language used. Of course, Mo doesn’t have much of a vocabulary beyond the usual four-letter assortment.

Although Cal’s not the world’s smartest protagonist, he is an intriguing character. A down-on-his-luck man addicted to tobacco and alcohol is a stereotype, sure, but I rooted for this guy. Despite his many mistakes and lack of common sense, Cal wants to do a little better, be a little better. Yet for every step he takes forward, he falls back two. And still he doesn’t pack it in.

Great books aren’t just about engaging plots and interesting characters. They’re about emotion. Emotion in the story and an emotional response from the reader. SATURDAY’S CHILD certainly got a response from me, which was why I wanted more from the ending. To explain further might give too much away. So, read the book and enjoy.
Fatal Encryption coming soon

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