Review: Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood

Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood
Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood

Jack Wakes Up
Seth Hardwood
Three Rivers Press, 2009

First Line: Jack Palms walks into a diner just south of Japantown, the one where he is supposed to me Ralph.

Continuing my little hard-boiled project this week makes for a bit of a departure as I step away from the detective field into the straight up crime thriller. (I’ll return to detective fiction with my subsequent reads since I’ve decided I want to attempt a novel for each decade since I have the 40s/50s well covered.) Like his contemporaries Scott Sigler and J. C. Hutchins (both contribute reviews on the book’s Amazon page) Seth Hardwood comes from the growing numbers of “podcast writers” that are, if not prevalent, at least a rising trend in the current fiction market (much like the Inklings often receive scholarly attention now I suspect that years down the road there will be some much deserved attention given to the collaborative and promotional power of the internet writing community). In Jack Wakes Up Harwood delivers a high octane crime thriller with a charismatic main character.

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Review: The Human Disguise by James O’Neal

The Human Disguise by James ONeal
The Human Disguise by James O'Neal

The Human Disguise
James O’Neal
Tor, 2009

The jacket discription of O’Neal’s debut novel The Human Disguise reads like it is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic noir story.  It had me really excited.  Needless to say I was a bit disappointed when the novel turned out be more of an action-thriller and I had radically adjust my expectations and try my hardest to enjoy the novel for what it was rather than what I hoped it to be.

America is a shell of herself, her borders closed, ravaged by terrorism, and threatened (along the rest of the world) by an increasingly aggressive Germany.  Amidst what remains of Florida, near a Miama declared as a quarantine zone for bioterror victims called growlers Tom Wilner, a former marine, is a member of the United Police Force, a peace keeping organization that does its best to enforce what little law remains in the area.  Wilner, while tailing his soon-to-be ex-wife into an area bar is quickly caught in a firefight and thrust straight into the middle of a conflict between two ancient families.  What ensues is flawed, but highly entertaining, action-thriller that while engrossing never seems to quite captialize on the rich world the O’Neal has created.
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