Sunday, September 4, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: DEEP WATER (& More) by Paul Bishop

            DEEP WATER (originally published as SAND AGAINST THE TIDE) is the second adventure of Calico Jack Walker and Tina Tamiko. In their first outing (originally published as CITADEL RUN and now available on Kindle as HOT PURSUIT), Walker was nearing his retirement from the LAPD and Tina was his rookie partner. Now Walker has retired from the force and is running a fishing charter business with his son, Ren. Tina still wears a badge but her and Jack remain a team via the romance that blossomed between them while they were working together.
            Things start out routinely and smoothly enough when Walker and Ren take out a pair of fishermen one day, even though Walker finds something unlikable about them. His instincts turn out to be warranted when the two men attempt to hijack Walker's boat, the Thieftaker, and Ren is seriously wounded in the process. Walker manages to thwart the attack and, leaving the would-be pirates in the drink, races back to shore to get his son medical attention.
            From there the story only picks up speed and the acceleration never lets up.
            This is an intricately-plotted crime thriller/adventure written by a sure hand, told with authentic details and high-spirited imagination. Subplots, conspiracies, corruption, intrigue, greed, torture, revenge, and wry humor all come into play as everything builds toward a rip-roaring, shatteringly explosive climax. Yet author Bishop also makes time for several key back stories and layers in plenty of character depth, managing to keep the wilder plot elements from going too far over the top.
            For thrills and excitement it's hard to beat Calico Jack and his "Take no bull, cut no slack – Hook 'em, book 'em, and don't look back" way of dealing with things.
            You can read OPEN WATER as a stand-alone, but you'd be cheating yourself if you didn't check out HOT PURSUIT as well. It's more high-speed mayhem with Walker and Tamiko and another exciting read. I, for one, could go for more adventures featuring this colorful pair … That's a hint, Paul, in case I'm being too subtle.

            And for another display of Bishop's diverse talents, be sure to check out his short story anthology, RUNNING WYLDE, also available on Kindle. Here is a wide-ranging assortment of stories covering the gamut from grim to humorous, but certainly never un-interesting. I have an admitted bias toward this collection because it contains three stories that originally appeared in Hardboiled magazine back when I was running the show there—including one of my all-time favorites, the Shamus-nominated "Quint and the Braceros".
            All good stuff. Guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Persevere --- WD

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