Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Good Day in Hell -- J. D. Rhoades & Sea Change -- Robert B. Parker

The Devil's Right Hand introduced Jack Keller, who works for H & H Bail Bonds in North Carolina. It was clear in that book that Jack had a lot of bad stuff in his head, left over from the first Gulf War, and in J. D. Rhoades's Good Day in Hell we find out what a lot of it is. We also find out, as if we hadn't already, that working for a bail bondsman (or bondswoman in this case) is at least as dangerous as fighting in Iraq. This time, Jack's dealing with mass murderers who make the Freeway Killers look like wussies. He's also trying to make a go of his relationship with Sheriff's Deputy Marie Jones, but Jack's not good at relationships, to understate the case. The action is fast and furious, with plenty of fighting, shooting, and sex all tossed into an enjoyable mix of complex characters and violent set-pieces. Good writing, too. Don't miss this one.

Then we come to Robert B. Parker's Sea Change, the latest Jesse Stone novel. Why, you're probably asking yourself, is Crider reviewing these two together? There's a very good reason, that's why. But you should't read any further if you plan to read both of them, because SPOILER ALERT, WILL ROBINSON! both books turn on the very same major plot point. Not that I'm going to tell you what it is right here. END SPOILER ALERT! Parker's book is lean and dialogue heavy. In fact, if Parker uses any more dialogue in the next one, it's going to be a play instead of a novel. But he does it expertly, in my opinion. Anyway, the body of a woman washes ashore in Paradise, and of course it turns out that she was murdered. Will Stone prove that he's mas macho que tu? Damned right. Will he solve the crime? Sure, but he gets a little help this time from a cop in Florida who does a bit of investigating on her own. I always enjoy Parker's writing, and even though this book took me only an hour or so to read, I still recommend it highly.


JD Rhoades said...

Thanks, Bill! Glad you liked it.

Unknown said...

Fine work, Dusty. On thing that's interesting is to compare the way you handled that plot point with the way Parker handled it.