Friday, May 04, 2012

Forgotten Books: The Video Vandal -- Frank Roderus

Back in the early '80s, Frank Roderus, better known for his western novels, tried his hand at a crime series, very much along the lines of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books.  Carl Heller, "a great hero from the great outdoors," is a rugged outdoorsy guy who does favors for friends.  In this case, the friend is a fellow in Colorado Springs who's developed some new computer software (note cool computer on cover) that he's convinced will bring in enormous profits.  That is, if someone doesn't steal his idea.  There's a mole in the company, and he asks Heller to find out who it is.

The "great outdoors" part of the book comes at the beginning, when Heller finds himself trapped in a sudden snowstorm while on horseback a long way from anywhere.  It's a very effective scene, as is the final one where Heller is involved in the real-life equivalent of a video game.  

As anyone who's read Roderus's fine westerns can tell you, he's a smooth hand with first-person narration, and Heller's quite a character.  Very unlike T. McGee, too.  Heller smokes, drinks lite beer, and doesn't mind consorting with a prostitute if you know what I mean and I think you do.  I read most of this series in the '80s, but I'd missed this one.  It was fun to catch up.


Paul Bishop said...

I have all the books in this series, including the last in the series, The Dead Heat, which came out a couple of years after the book before and in a cover which didn't match the rest of the series. I enjoyed them all ...

Matthew P. Mayo said...

I love this series--The Video Vandal was the first I read--and think they're prime for release as ebooks.