Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Indie Scene: KILLER INSTINCTS by Jack Badelaire

If you’re looking for a good action novel, look no further than Jack Badelaire’s Killer Instincts.

It’s a crisply written story about a young man pursuing the men who murdered his family.  But before you dismiss it as a Death Wish knock-off, read a few pages.  This is a story that grabs you from page one as we catch up with William, the protagonist, in the middle of a mission.  Once the smoke clears, we learn how he became the commando expert we see in that first section.  William Lynch links up with some shady characters to learn the finer points of wet work, and we get to watch him transform from mild-mannered kid into something much more. Unlike The Executioner or other characters of this type, who are fully formed when we first meet them, we get to watch Lynch grow and it’s almost as if we are changing along with him.  The difference between Lynch and The Executioner is more empathy.  More empathy equals more suspense as he takes on one challenge after another.  We know he wins in the end, but how he gets there, and how he grows with each step, is the story.

Badelaire chose to write this in first person, which is admirable.  It provides another sense of immediacy you don’t often get with action stories.  We’re in William’s head the whole time.  We see what he sees and change as he changes. While some might say the first person perspective and the thriller are mutually exclusive, in this case it works because the suspense isn’t really in whether or not he gets the bad guys or lives or dies.  It’s about the characters and how they relate; how they became who they are; and what they chose to do with their positions in life.  While they’ve indeed chosen “the good side”, if you will (and I’m not even sure about that!), we learn that sometimes a hero must adopt methods of the bad guys.  Nice guys finish last, you see, and unless you are as equally capable with a submachine gun as your enemy, you’re going to lose the fight.  How one gets to that point is what Killer Instincts is about.

It’s available as an ebook and print edition, a nice print edition at that, and you will be well rewarded for the time invested.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jerry Ahern, 1946-2012

I found out this evening that Jerry Ahern passed away earlier this morning.


I found out because we were "friends" on Facebook and his family was kind enough to post the announcement. Jerry was one of my favorite writers growing up. I read everything I could get my hands on and I never did complete the Ahern Library, but I tried. His novels were full of exciting adventure and it was everything a growing boy needed. He was gracious enough to grant me an interview for this blog shortly after I started it and I had hoped we could maintain a correspondence, but that didn't work out. Maybe he was already sick.

I am including a link to the interview here because I can think of no better tribute, from me, anyway, as meaningless as it may be, than to once again highlight the dedication to the craft of writing that Jerry had. It's a dedication that all writers should have. He wrote in the men's adventure genre, but he wrote far above the limitations of that genre, and his point of view should not be missed.

I entitled my interview "Jerry Ahern: King of Adventure".

He never told me if he thought it was silly or not.

So long, Jerry.