Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Reads: The Chase by Clive Cussler

I haven't written about books recently because I've been plowing through a book about meaning in the second half of life. It's good and it's meaningful, but it takes a while. Such is not true of Clive Cussler's novels, which I devour in a single sitting.

So I was thrilled to see a new entry by Cussler. Although I tend to stay away from coauthored efforts, I make an exception for his Numa Files novels written with Paul Kemprecos. Still, I was especially happy to see this was a Cussler only effort. Cussler's original Dirk Pitt novels are probably some of the best written entertainment around. Alas, I was to be disappointed. There's no Dirk Pitt. Actually most of The Chase takes place in the American West of 1906, and as interesting a character as Isaac Bell is, he is no Dirk Pitt or even Kurt Austin. Of course, who can compete with the underwater antics of the same?

After an intial scene of the 1950 recovery of a locomotive, etc... from the frigid waters of a Montana Lake, the reader is treated to the back story which revolves around the hunt for the "Butcher Bandit," bank robber and prototype of the modern serial killer. Erstwhile and successful investigator Isaac Bell is charged with the task. Throw in the San Francisco earthquake, and you have the gist of the plot.

The Chase makes for interesting and suspenseful, if not thoroughly outstanding, reading. And the ambivalence of the personal angle is one of its most outstanding features. So if you're at loose ends some Friday afternoon, you might want to pick up a copy. You won't be sorry. But if you haven't read any of the other Cussler novels, start there. You'll be really happy.

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