Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In the Red (A brief novel review)

In the Red
by Regan C. Ashbaugh

I started on this book this past Sunday afternoon and wrapped it up shortly before midnight the same day. I couldn't put it down. Usually when it comes to fiction, I prefer stories that have to do with the sea or artsy thrillers like The Da Vinci Code. But I am glad that I deviated a bit from my preference this time around.

The beef that I have with a lot of authors today is that, in their books, they throw in two "items" as if that provides some sort of dimension to the main character or the book. These are:
  1. The hero has to deal with a demon or demons.
  2. There is usually a beautiful damsel who "somehow" tags along with our hero so that our hero can rescue her and/or put up with her.
Well, our hero in this book does deal with demons. But when he does, it does not appear put on or forced and that is important. The demons have a real relevance to what is happening in the story at present.

There is also a beautiful woman involved but she does not make an appearance until about 3/5ths of the way into the book. Initially her presence appears close to being superficial but as we near the climax her involvement does have an impact on how it all ends. Still, there were other things happening in the book that were so riveting that I probably would not have noticed any superficiality.

This is a thick book but without any fat. It is clear from the description of the crime scenes and the various scenes approaching Wall Street that Regan, a firefighter himself, has done quite a bit of research. The book has been paced beautifully and has a lot of atmosphere. It briefly rekindled memories of some of the James Hadley Chase novels I read as a kid.