Monday, October 6, 2008

Review - Scavenger

David Morrell, the creator of Rambo, has offered us his newest book, Scavenger. He's written more than 20 thrillers, and my past experience with them has been mostly favorable. Morrell is a plot kind of guy, generally propelling the action along at high speed - at such speed that it's easy to forget that there is very little else to many of the books. However, his earlier efforts have tended to show considerable research into things like survival in the wild. For me, a wealth of detail and dense plotting have made Morrell's books worthwhile.

Scavenger, unfortunately, is one of the weaker Morrell books I have read (I probably haven't read more than five or six, and it's been a while, but I remember them as good solid reads). It's no surprise that the characters are made of cardboard, but the plot really isn't up to standard. Morrell takes two topics of some interest, time capsules and video games, and does very little with them. There are a few interesting anecdotes, mostly about missing time capsules, but we don't end up as fascinated by them as Morrell apparently is.

I don't want to be entirely negative here; there is also a lot to recommend here. The plot is typical Morrell, fast-moving and exciting. A lot happens here, and it's fun to watch. This 349-page book unfolds in a hurry, so much so that I'd recommend taking an additional book on your cross-country flight - you'll be done with this one quickly. There is a visceral pleasure in a book that tells pretty much its whole story in a 40-hour span.

Scavenger picks up its main characters from an earlier book, Creepers, that I have not read, so I will leave it to others to judge whether Frank and Amanda have been well served by this sequel. But this book is pretty insubstantial. Read it if you're in the mood for pure action, don't expect to come away with any memory of it.

[By the way, I normally barely look at jacket blurbs, they're usually almost completely unrelated to the actual book. However, did the AP really review this as "the Psycho of the Computer Age"? There is not a moment of this book that compares in creepy atmospherics.]

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