Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: “Spirit Trap” by Tim Bryant, Beehoven Press, Kindle Edition, 2014.

You should be aware before we proceed, that to my surprise, I was included in the list of acknowledgements.

I unaware of this when I agreed to read and review this novel; however it is no secret that I have enjoyed Tim Bryant’s work. I am fond of his protagonist Dutch Curridge. I believe Tim Bryant to be one of the finest mystery and noir writers around, new and old. This series is always fresh in its approach while harkening back to the masters of yesterday. Tim’s storytelling style is quaint and economical with rich character design, vivid action and just the right kick of liquor fueled grit.

So this is the third novel in the series and the third novel I have reviewed and there is much to say about consistency including that the third time is very much the charm. And to this I am ever so grateful, since my name does appear in the book.

Jokes aside …

Dutch Curridge is back with all the humor and masterful turns of the phrase that makes this private detective not only a keeper but iconic. The feel of this novel, like the two previous Dutch Curridge mysteries “Dutch Curridge” and “Southern Select”, is a down home uneasiness, a feeling that out of the sun drenched flatlands, at any moment, a shot gun blast or a sharpened blade may be headed your way. This isn’t fancy story telling – it is believable, straight ahead, look over your shoulder, nod to your neighbor, honest and uncomplicated literature.

And let me stress that point: Literature with a big L. So much in the mystery/detective genre these days contains false premises, stilted and staged dialogue, over the top movie-like action and pat I saw it coming three hundred pages ago endings.

Isn’t that correct Mr. Patterson and Ms. Cornwell?

Yes, I do like to needle those two. Just as if I had lived longer ago I would have needled Miss Marple and Monsieur Poirot. As a wise man of letters once told me ‘there is writing and there is typing’ and in the case of Tim Bryant’s “Spirit Trap”, as with his two previous tomes, this is ‘Literature’.

We open with a family massacred: the wife and two young daughters brutally murdered in their own home and the husband/father missing. As the crime scene is processed and as the police fiddle around, Dutch ducks and twists his way in and around the web that actually made up the real life of the missing loved one. Outside the bloody abode Werner Athey’s life unfurls with all the subtlety of a rotted carpet.

As the suspects unearth themselves and the women are laid to rest still without an appearance from the most important male in their lives, Dutch cautiously rekindles his relationship with a comely news reporter. And yet, what is her angle?

The problem for Dutch and his investigation is an uneasy feeling of just where the truth may lie and for the reader that feeling becomes one of creeping paranoia. It will gnaw in the pit of your stomach, the writing is that good.

Hey kids, you like interactive stuff? --- Pick up this book; you’ll quickly and undeniably become a part of the action; at least that is how you will feel as you follow Dutch from clue to clue. As you think and posit and shield your eyes from the hot sun, you’ll hear Lefty Frizzell crooning in your left ear; for inquiring minds, not a bad way to spend your time.

Hey adults, do you want to know if is this is a page turner? Let me just say this book was the best time I ever had with three dead bodies.

Buy this book. Heck, BUY ALL THREE.....

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