Monday, April 7, 2014
Review of Tropical Heat by John Lutz (No Exit Press, 1986)
Tropical Heat is the first Fred Carver book in a series of ten published between 1986 and 1996. Carver is a somewhat reluctant private investigator who hobbles about with a cane (that doubles as a weapon) due to a gammy leg. Set in central Florida, the story is a typical PI tale of finding a missing person who doesn’t want to be found, who has a more complex back story than originally thought, and the PI and woman hiring him becoming romantically involved. Whilst there are a number of action sequences as Carver tangles with a deadly gang, the tale felt more like an episode of The Rockford Files than Miami Vice; more small screen than big screen. It was an interesting enough read, but never really fully captured the imagination. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I simply didn't believe in the fledgling romance and the way in which Carver engineers it. The ending had a reasonable twist, but involved a leap of faith and an unnecessary rush in order to create a tension point. Overall, a solid enough, run-of-the-mill start to a series.