Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Blood Red Sea -- Ron Faust

I liked the first two books (Dead Men Rise up Never, Sea of Bones) in Ron Faust's series about Dan Shaw quite a bit. Shaw reminds me a little of Travis McGee, and the Florida setting in the books is very well done. Somehow I missed The Blood Red Sea when it came out last fall, and I guess a lot of other people did, too, since as far as I know there's not a fourth book scheduled. That's too bad because The Blood Red Sea is very good.

The comparison to the Travis McGee novels is bound to occur to a lot of people after reading the opening section when Shaw rescues (in a sense) a woman who's been left to drown. There's none of the old T. McGee patented therapy, and the woman Shaw saves isn't like a JDM heroine. She's damaged, all right, but she's not so easily healed. Shaw and his friends cook up a plot to get her son for her, and that's when things start to go wrong.

You might think you have the book figured out, that this will happen and then that will happen and then will come the expected ending. You'll probably be wrong on all counts, though. Faust doesn't go in any of the standard directions. That's about all I'm going to say about the plot. You'll just have to read it for yourself. I'll bet it's going to be a little darker than you think. Maybe you'll like it, maybe not. It worked for me.

I first read Ron Faust's work back in the late 1970s and early '80s when he did some books for Gold Medal. I remember talking about them with Joe Lansdale at an AggieCon or two. We both thought that Faust was going to be a contender, but somehow he never quite made it to the top. I thought the Dan Shaw series would do the trick for sure, and if there were any justice, it would have. Maybe it has, and I'm just not aware of it. Boy, I hope so. I hope there'll be more books in the series. I really do.


Dennis McGough said...

I loved these books too. They were compelling reads that moved the story constantly. I have since bought a couple more Faust's but haven't read them yet. Bill, if you hear there are going to be more books in this series please post about it. Also I believe that Ed Gorman knows Faust so maybe Ed has an idea of books to come.

Unknown said...

If I find out anything, I'll do a post. So far, I haven't heard.

Kent Morgan said...

I read a couple of earlier Faust novels that I hated with Fugitive Moon being one of the few baseball novels that I almost dumped from my collection. I think I gave the first in this series a shot because of a couple of good reviews plus the setting. I liked it a lot and kept looking for a second, which I didn't enjoy as much. Book three continued the downward slide IMO.

Unknown said...

I liked the third one better than the second. Different strokes.