Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Month To Murder

I'm getting impatient with Lancer's Enforcer series, which is getting less interesting as I go along. After debuting with a lively jungle adventure, the fourth book of the series (and of 1973) is something of a bore. Not a lot of "enforcing" is going on around here, and author Andrew Sugar (whomever he may be) appears to be losing track of his characters. After suffering a huge emotional loss in this novel, KILL DEADLINE, hero Alex Jason bounces right back a few pages later as though nothing had happened. It just doesn't sit right, considering what Sugar has told us about Jason's relationship with this person.

Jason is asked to find a serial killer codenamed Darkhurst who is knocking off wealthy individuals, always on the 10th of the month, every month, one at a time. When Darkhurst's latest victim is a member of the John Anryn Institute, the private thinktank that employs Jason and other clones like him, Jason, his boss Flack, and Rosegold, the doctor who invented the exclusive cloning process that allows him to transfer minds from one clone body to another every ninety days (which is how long it takes before the bodies begin to melt into gooey protoplasm), shelter a survivor, Richards, and plop Jason into a clone of Richards to serve as bait.

The Enforcer novels are becoming increasingly setbound, and KILL DEADLINE rarely bothers to even leave the Institute. Virtually every scene takes place indoors, and most of them are quite talky, though mystery fans may find interest in Jason's attempt to discover Darkhurst's identity (it didn't ring true to me). Adding to my dissatisfaction is the fact that Sugar turns out about 220 pages, which is probably at least forty too many. Two more remain in the Enforcer series, and I'll get to them, but not excitedly.

I should have written a review of THE DOOR, #3 in the Mind Masters series, but I couldn't finish it. It seems to be about a psychic racecar driver investigating something involving Stonehenge, but at nearly the halfway point, nothing much was happening, and I dropped THE DOOR. Author John Rossmann also writes in the present tense, which I found disorienting.

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