From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 25 Aug 2002

Ending the month with the last of the four JDM books I had on hand. (In between CONTRARY PLEASURE and this one I read THE CROSSROADS, which was pretty unremarkable, in my opinion.) This, luckily, is very fine -- the best of the four. It ranks with SOFT TOUCH, THE END OF THE NIGHT, and A FLASH OF GREEN as the best non-McGee JDM's I've read.

It's got the same basic formula of the other three: a bunch of disparate people are thrown together by a variety of circumstances, and a bunch of stuff happens. Here it's a hurricane -- an inspired touch, I think, since it forces a kind of drama on the event.
(I liked CONTRARY PLEASURE but found much of the story to be rather slow.) The characters, for whatever reason, are much more vivid, too -- reading a lot of JDMs back-to-back you really do see his formulas at work, but the characters here just felt truer to me, more "real". He really had all guns blazing on this one.

(His later bestseller, CONDOMINIUM, now seems to be to be essentially a longer, inferior rewrite of this. It might be interesting to read the two side by side.)

It also occurred to me that JDM's real influence has played out not in hardboiled novels so much as, of all things, horror books. By way of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I suspect, both of whom are JDM fans. Hell, THE STAND is almost "JDM writes THE LORD OF THE RINGS".

Anyway, highly recommended.


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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