Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hunt at the Well of Eternity

As someone who grew up reading the paperback reprints of Doc Savage, Operator 5 and The Spider, I’ve lamented the fact that it’s hard to find new fiction that satisfies the pulp itch (a condition that no amount of Gold Bond Medicated Powder can relieve). Fortunately, adventure fiction lives, thanks to Leisure Books.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity launches a new line of novels starring contemporary two-fisted explorer-adventurer Gabriel Hunt, heir to the legacy of Doc Savage and Indiana Jones (many readers will not be able to stop smiling when one of those characters is obliquely referenced in the book).

When Eternity begins, Hunt already has several adventures behind him, a device that allows the reader to be pulled immediately into a high-octane escapade involving a stained Confederate flag, Mayans and a secret that could change the world. The action explodes every few pages, propelling the reader through the book at the speed of light.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity is a slim novel--just 226 pages. It proves to be the perfect length for this type of yarn, and it highlights the fact that publishing concerns require most modern thrillers to be bloated to an often unnecessary length.

The Hunt concept was created by Charles Ardai, the man behind Hard Case Crime. For this inaugural Hunt installment, Ardai wisely handed the writing chores to James Reasoner, one of my favorite western authors. Reasoner’s Death Head Crossing is one of the finest westerns in recent memory.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity could be used as a tool to teach prospective writers how to construct an adventure novel. Reasoner’s pacing, humor and descriptions of action are a blueprint for writing a satisfying page turner. In fact, the only negative is that readers have to wait two months for the next Gabriel Hunt novel.

I look forward to future installments. I just hope the next Hunt novels can come close to the high standard Reasoner has set with Hunt at the Well of Eternity.

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