Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Biggest Mother Of Them All

When last we left MORITURI spy Patrick Shannon, well, he was doing pretty well, living it up in his New York penthouse apartment and sexing up many gorgeous women. And when we pick him up at the beginning of his next adventure, SHALLOW GRAVE, he's still sexing up hotties--up to three at a time--while on vacation down in Montego Bay. In fact, the first thirty pages have nothing to do with any plot; they just chart Shannon's fun times in the Caribbean, eating great food, lounging in his expensive hotel room, and, uh, sexing up many hotties. I don't think this makes him very likable; he's kinda smug, if you ask me. Oh, and we learn that Shannon is now an author of trashy spy paperbacks based on his own cases.

When he finally returns to New York and the penthouse he shares with his companion/sidekick/cook/houseboy Joe-Dad, Shannon investigates a series of murders of heroin-addicted hookers who are butchered and found naked with a cross sliced into their chests. The lab discovers chicken blood mixed with the victims' blood, leading to the conclusion that voodoo is responsible. Unfortunately, there are no zombies in this 1974 novel, nor anything as outrageous as the tripped-out villains of the previous novel, THE UNDERTAKER, which I greatly preferred. Author Jake Quinn took little care in crafting an absorbing mystery, and the dialogue is puerile, even for a book of this nature.

One thing of note is that we learn Shannon's origin story, in which, among other things, he was one of eight children born to wealthy Irish immigrants and served in Vietnam.

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