A standard of science fiction is the idea of the vanished people. A small town will be eerily silent, or even a big city, and while the buildings still stand, the people will be gone. Travelers of one type or another will stumble across the vacant buildings and try to figure out just what happened to all the people. This classic idea is used to great effect in this latest novel of the series.
Grace MacBride, Annie Belinsky and Sharon Mueller were to take a road trip from Minneapolis to Green Bay, Wisconsin at the request of the local Police. There is a concern among some in the Police force that a serial killer might be at work and in the beginnings of a spree. Thanks to their software and the reputation they have made helping Police Departments since the events depicted in “Monkeewrench” their offer of free help is accepted. Their road trip quickly becomes a nightmare as they get lost, their car breaks down, their cell phones won’t work, and their walk through the woods brings them to a ghost town where nothing, neither man or animal, is alive.
They have stumbled across the very small town of Four Corners, Wisconsin. The entire town, such as it is, is completely devoid of life. Counters have been washed, dishes done, and everything is spotless but no animals, people, or wildlife such as birds or squirrels are around. It seems as if the classic science fiction premise has happened and every living thing has been catalogued and removed. But space aliens wouldn’t have needed to cut the phone lines. As Grace, Annie, and Sharon struggle to figure out what has happened and stay alive, the men in their lives launch a rescue mission with virtually no idea where to begin looking for them.
After the mind numbingly boring read of “Live Bait” this third novel in the series is a welcome return to what made the series worth reading in the first place. While some new information is added to the development of these continuing characters, especially in regards to the women on the run, the effort is secondary to the main thrust of the book, which is an action adventure read. Secondary to that point also is the resolution of at least two storylines from the first book that should have significant impact on the further development of the series.
The entire thrust of the book is not the mystery surrounding what happened in Four Corners, part of which becomes very obvious early on. The thrust is in providing an intense action adventure oriented read designed to keep the reader glued to the page despite whatever might be happening in the real world surrounding the reader. The authors pull the feat off masterfully by shoving the reader to the edge of the seat and keeping him or her there the entire time while the action flows at a breathtaking pace. This is an intense read and certainly a book to read this summer—preferably while alone.
By P. J. Tracy
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN # 0-399-15246-6
More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note here or at Kevin_tipple@att.net with your comments, observations, and suggestions.
Thanks for reading!
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005
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