Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hard Cache by Charles B. Neff: A Book Review

Title: Hard Cache
Author: Charles B. Neff
Publisher: Bennett & Hastings Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-934733-57-8
202 pages
Price: $14.95 trade paperback

As I wrote last week about Marvin D. Wilson's Beware the Devil's Hug, book reviews are hard. I don't do many, simply because it takes away from my love of reading for the story's sake. A reviewer needs to think while he reads, analyze plot and character, and worst of all, take notes.

Even so, when I was contacted by Bennett & Hastings Publishing to see if I would read and review Hard Cache, I read the synopsis and then said, "Sure."

How could I turn down the chance to read a thriller that includes a retired Swedish police officer visiting the Cascade Mountains of Washington State and his fiancee who's thinking a lot about getting married as long as her intended doesn't plan to return to sleuthing in any form? Add a local cop whose father's corpse is discovered when the retired Swedish officer goes fishing, and a couple of mysterious Russians with a secret going back to the Russian/Afghan war, and you have the makings of a great story.

Without the cast of characters in the front of Hard Cache, I might have had a problem keeping them straight at the beginning, especially those with difficult names. The Swede who now lives in Costa Rica, Magnus Torval, is the main protagonist, but other characters such as the local cop, Greg Takarchuk, and FBI agent John Vasilich also carry part of the story.

I followed the complicated relationship between Magnus and his hopeful fiancee, Mariela Fuentes, wondering all the while if the engagement was doomed. I guess it's pretty hard for a retired cop to find a body and then back away from the investigation. I'll let you read the book to see what happens when Magnus is drawn into the case after Greg is pulled off because his father is the murder victim.

What I liked best about Hard Cache was Neff's tight writing and his ability to lead me through a plot maze without losing me in the process. I admire writing that doesn't resort to frills and flowers to fill space. Just build the characters and tell the story. The author does that very well. Hard Cache is a good read.


Note: a copy of Hard Cache was supplied at no charge by the publisher for the purpose of this review. No payment was involved for reviewing this novel.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for this review. I completely agree with you about writing style. I, too, thoroughly admire an author who doesn't waste prose. I can thoroughly enjoy a vivid description of a place or a person, but "fluff" takes away from a novel for me. I'm glad you found Neff's writing style to be focused.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

That definitely sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review, Patricia.

Ann Best said...

This does sound intriguing!! Strong writing is definitely a plus for me.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Margot, Rayna, and Ann. Books, books, books...what would I do without them? I sometimes wonder why I decided to add more words to the book world when there are already so many wonderful stories in circulation.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I'll have to check it out.