Release Date: 19/08/10
Samuel 'Sailor' Doyle has transferred from Vice to Homicide in the Virginia State Police. He has a mistress, an alcohol problem, a prescription drug dependency, and a burgeoning self-loathing that alienates his wife and family. On Friday 3 July, the rookie investigator is assigned to a double homicide on a rural farm some 15 miles outside Richmond. One of the victims has been interred in a makeshift tomb, while the other is stuck half-in, half-out of a hope chest overflowing with cat litter. And the farm is covered with dead bodies: dozens of cats, sheep, goats, cows, and one dead horse. The mentally handicapped daughter of the victims, Carl and Claire Bruckner, is missing. Doyle soon discovers that Bruckner was a Marine captain who lost his leg in Vietnam thanks to the incompetence of his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lake - now retired General Robert Lake, and Republican Party presidential hopeful, who will be speaking in Richmond on July fourth - the following evening. What Doyle fails to realise as he follows the various clues is that wherever he goes, he is spreading disease - and not just any disease, but Yersinia pestis. The plague. Is the dead Marine planning revenge, even from beyond the grave?
This title is one that will either win the reader over to the authors side or be one that the reader will be left wondering what the hell is happening as it is rather simplistic in its telling. Yes its got good strong characterisation with a principle protagonist that is a tragic hero figure with some serious flaws. Yes its got a plot outline that will make the reader expect a hell of a lot, but unfortunately it really doesn’t hit the spot as its kept to a base line that really doesn’t get any higher.
There will be those who overly enthuse due to the authors writing style and creative processes but for me, if you’ve gone to so much trouble to build good strong characters they deserve the time to play with a few more twists. Still a good effort and with luck Rob’s future novels will improve on this as it’s a good start but runs out of steam part way through. That said he still deserves a second crack of the whip purely for the characters within.