Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: The Wrecker by Clive Cussler with Justin Scott

Book: Hardback 235 x 159mm
480 pages
ISBN 9780399155994
17 Nov 2009
Putnam Adult 18 - AND UP

From the Publisher:

In The Chase, Clive Cussler introduced an electrifying new hero, the tall, lean, no-nonsense detective Isaac Bell, who, driven by his sense of justice, travels early-twentieth-century America pursuing thieves and killers . . . and sometimes criminals much worse.

It is 1907, a year of financial panic and labor unrest. Train wrecks, fires, and explosions sabotage the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Cascades express line and, desperate, the railroad hires the fabled Van Dorn Detective Agency. Van Dorn sends in his best man, and Bell quickly discovers that a mysterious saboteur haunts the hobo jungles of the West, a man known as the Wrecker...
(to continue reading the synopsis, click here)

I walked into a used book store one day with the purpose of buying Clive Cussler books for a friend's husband, who very much enjoys them. When I went to pay for them, the conversation got around to the man behind the counter saying to me, "Yeah, you don't look like a Clive Cussler reader." Well! That irked me. What should a reader of any book look like? So, when I had the opportunity to review The Wrecker, I jumped at it.

The story starts off in 1934, with snow falling in the mountains somewhere near Germany and a man trekking across this (on skis) to reach a castle. The imagery was reminiscent of Indian Jones (and who doesn't love Indy?) Then we move back to 1907 to discover why this foray into a snow storm was necessary.

There seems to be alot of troubles attacking the Southern Pacific railroad and only the president of the company, Osgoode Hennessy seems to think it's sabotage. When he brings on the Van Dorn Detective Agency to investigate, the lead detective, Isaac Bell, is quick to discover that Hennessy just might be right.

The book trails around America, with action at every turn; Isaac Bell is kept on his toes trying to discover who is behind it all. What was great for me was the look back through history to this time. Parts of the country are using the telephone, while others remain on the telegraph system. There was mention of D-cell batteries, which I didn't realize existed at that time. The Wrecker highlights a time in America when technology was rapidly changing and it was interesting to get a look at things from this perspective (how did crimes ever get solved pre-CSI?)

While I've probably learned more than I'll ever need to know about how to build a railroad (creosoting the ties, 2700 ties per mile, etc., etc.) and it was fairly obvious from early on who the criminal really was, the final chapters were chock-full of excitement. This book is something that would make for fantastic visual effects on the big screen.

Cussler's hero, Isaac Bell, is a blend of class and rough, hands on worker; tough when necessary, yet also very tender with his fiance, Marion Morgan. The only thing I didn't like about the character was the description of is curly moustache but this was a popular affection at the time, to I'll have to defer Mr. Cussler on this one.

Throughout the book, I could see why some people consider his writing "guy-lit" but truly, I enjoyed this book. I will at some point go back and read The Chase, where Bell was introduced and look forward to the next in the series, The Spy, which releases on June 1, 2010. And to the gentleman at the used bookstore, I offer a great big raspberry! See, I am a Clive Cussler reader :-D


Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

haha take that bookstore sterotyper!

fredamans said...

I love Clive Cussler more since watching him on Discovery on that shipwreck show. Now I should pick up one of his books.

Good review!

Jackie said...

Mel - Yeah! *pumps fist in air :-p

Freda - I haven't watched him on Discovery but most of his books are based on shipwreck-type stuff, from what I understand. This series is different but for sure, give him a try :-)

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