Theodicius

Good. Evil. Bratwurst.

Surface Tension

Posted on by arlen

A first novel from Christine Kling.

Les Standiford, you should be ashamed of yourself. Mentioning Seychelle Sullivan in the same breath as John D [MacDonald] is a crime. I’ll admit I’m probably not a good judge of potential, and since it’s her first book maybe I should cut her some slack, but if John D had written this it would lining a bird cage or a cat box somewhere.

The link to Travis McGee is obvious; Sullivan is in salvage. But it stops there. There is the stupid but thorough cop who adds 2+2 and gets the square of the hypoteneuse, the old friend cop (only this one’s recently retired; seems like you can’t have a good guy on the force in this particular world). There’s the home for wayward girls (and you know what it really does to the girls, don’t you?) the ex-lover too nasty to be with but of course too noble to be part of the plot against her. Sullivan herself is too smart for the bad guys to put up with having her around, yet everyone believes nasty things said about her by a drunken racetrack loser. Yep, I can believe that, I can.

I got the feeling for about the middle third of the book the author was stuck for how to stretch it out. So we have a bunch of hand-waving (some hands containing weapons) and water-churning until enough pages have gone back to draw the tale to a close.

Maybe it’s just the linkage with MacDonald that’s triggering this in me; if so, that’s not Kling’s fault. But this tale was tiresome, I frankly almost didn’t finish the book. Life’s too short to waste it reading really bad books. This book seemed to hover gently right on the line between mediocre and bad. It’s quite possible the author has grown past this level now. If you think so and are willing to check it out, try one of her latest books. The only defensible reason for picking this one up is to complete a collection.

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