Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gun Work, by David J. Schow

I finished Hard Case Crime's latest title, David J. Schow's Gun Work, last night. I was really prepared to like this, since the cover is great and I knew of Schow's reputation as a good horror writer (I think I've read only some of his short stories in that genre). I did like the book, but not as much as I would've loved to.

There's plenty of violence in Gun Work, but maybe I was expecting too much of it, since I kept thinking: why don't they blast up more things? (I realize this isn't a very good argument against a book.) The action slows down at times, too. The plot is good and there are lots of twists, which I liked, and the opening sentence hooked me pretty well. But in the middle I lost some of my interest, when the hero of the book is being rescued and nurtured by an old Mexican. That part of the book could've been shortened - even though it would've been unrealistic, given how much the hero was being beat up and tortured in a Mexican kidnapping hotel. There are also some Mexican wrestlers in the book, but I didn't think Schow got much out of them.

After the middle, when the hero is getting his revenge, the book somewhat resembles the eighties' men's adventures series, like those by David Robbins and Rich Rainey: a group of heavily-armed men are after some baddies. In the end, the hero is left alone, so there can't be a sequel - at least with the same guys. There was some implausibility on how the group gets together - or at least one coincidence too many.

Gun Work is well-written, though, and you shouldn't listen to me too much, since others have liked this a great deal. Here's Ed Gorman and here's Somebody Dies.


JZID said...

I was not familiar with David J. Schow prior to reading this book, and I pretty much read it in one sitting, like I do with most Hard Case Crime books - so I'm not sure it needed to be shortened. I felt the book kept me interested all the way to the last page and I've already requested "The Kill Riff" from my local library as well as plan on checking out some of the short stories as well! Anyway, as a subscriber to Hard Case Crime, this book has been one of my fave's! I'm hoping for more.

Juri said...

As I said, others have liked this more than I did and I probably gave too negative picture of what I thought. The book is well-written and at times the narratic drive is very forceful.