Heya bookies! An old online friend wrote me today, Dan Schrager, author of The Code, it was damned good to hear from him. We knew each other on the old AOL boards, back before AOL decided too many people were using their service and they needed to run most of them off. If you make it here Dan, say hello to the nice people who are bored enough to read this.

So here’s another review, from 2007, a book that still works very well. Find a copy and you’ll love it.

HADES by Russell Andrews. You have a choice. You can take one empty55 gallon drum, fill it with liquid rocket fuel, seal it, install a fuse, wrap a saddle around it, sit on said saddle and light said fuse, then hold on for dear life. Or you can read Russell Andrews’ newest Justin Westwood thriller. Take your pick, the experience will be about the same either way.

Westwood has left the cozy confines of his hometown, Providence, Rhode Island, to become police chief in East End Harbor, Long Island, a quiet enclave filled with rich people looking for quiet lives. He has a new girlfriend, Abby Harmon, who comes complete with rich husband Evan Harmon. She’s fun, hubby doesn’t much seem to care what she does. Convenient and stimulating. Until Evan Harmon turns up dead and ambitious DA Larry Silverbush sees headlines and the governor’s mansion rising over the conviction of a chief of police with a motive to kill. Before he knows it Justin is suspended and suspected.

He is not without friends, however. Going home to Providence, Justin hooks on to the Providence Police Department and a consult and begins digging into the tangles of deceit surrounding the dead man. Or two dead men, as the bodies begin to pile up. The stew is mixed with a third victim, an FBI agent, no less, an old girl-friend, high stakes finance, international trade, missing platinum, mafia dons and hit-men, rogue FBI agents and, of all things, ninjas. It’s enough to make a lesser man look for a different line of work.

But not Justin Westwood. Andrews has a terrific ear for dialogue and uses it precisely, knowing when to let it flow and when to cut it short. There is little wasted language here; unlike some books, the reader is never tempted to skip paragraphs of narrative that interrupt the flow. Like the newly ignited 55 gallon drum, Hades takes off and never stops until the truth splatters across the page like a missile that has run out of fuel and plunged back to Earth.