Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Midnight Rambler" by James Swain

Novels of child abduction and pedophiles are not my cup of latte. Were I not a huge fan of Jim Swain’s spectacularly entertaining Tony Valentine novels, I never would have tried “Midnight Rambler.”

“Midnight Rambler” is a stand-alone thriller, and perhaps is Jim’s strongest novel to date.

Jack Carpenter was a Broward County PD missing child specialist. Now he is living over a bar in Dania, barely able to pay the rent.

He lost his badge and his marriage during the apprehension and conviction of Simon Skell, a notorious serial killer.

When Skell’s lawyer orchestrates a release on a technicality, Jack is obliged to reconfirm the case or else all he lost will be for naught.

Skell is a fearsome adversary. He manages to run a bunch of hooligans on the outside from his jail cell. This ring preys on the vulnerable women, obtaining crucial info in a most ingenious and insidious manner. It is an odd coupling: a venal radio talk show host, the sinister CEO of a communication company and two sordid, reprehensible Cubans posing as cable installers.

Part of their conspiracy is to discredit Jack completely.

One of Jack’s few allies is a stripper who the gang kidnaps.

As Jack competes against the ticking clock to prevent her death, for each insightful piece of the puzzle he uncovers, he runs up upon an equally imposing dead end. The frustration amplifies the suspense and tension.

The procedural aspects are absolutely credible, the action is taut, the dialogue convincing and the characters are terrifyingly real.

You know these types of lawbreakers exist. They are your worse nightmare and will make you sleep with a light on for a while.

Do not miss this book.

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