Often, things are not as they first appear, and that is true in this story of kidnapping and subterfuge. Baby Shark is the nickname for Poolshark-turned-PI Kristin Van Dijk, the heroine of this hard-boiled 1950s mystery. A tough, gun-toting lady, she has been compared to Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, and the comparison is dead on.
In this third book of the series, Van Dijk and her partner, Otis Millett, travel to Oklahoma to track down Savannah Smike, girlfriend of Travis Horner.Â She is allegedly being held for ransom, but when the investigators get to Oklahoma they find that the assignment is not what they were led to believe. This leads them to wondering if their Texas client is to be believed.
Horner is involved in bootlegging, and it turns out that Savannah is the daughter of rival bootleggers in Oklahoma.Â Maybe this isnâ€™t a kidnapping after all.
Right from the start, Baby Shark is skeptical of taking the ransom to Oklahoma. â€œThere were two things I didnâ€™t like about the deal. Hell, there were more than two, but first off, bagmen never get respect. And, besides that, I didnâ€™t like doing business with a two-faced bootlegger who drank his lunch with double-dealing politicians.â€
Fate has done a masterful job of capturing the mood and the tempo of the pulp-style mystery with plenty of action and wise-cracking to engage the reader. While Baby Shark might be a little too over-the-top for some, she walks comfortably in the same shoes as Hammer and McGee and other notable tough guys of the genre.
The narrative is tightly-written, fast-paced,Â and does an equally good job of moving the story along and revealing character. â€œHe was desperation in misdirected slow motion, but his little pistol was pointed at my heart. I knew what could be next. He would shoot me and Otis would kill him. Maybe Iâ€™d survive, and maybe I wouldnâ€™t.â€
This is a delightful read and Baby Shark is sure to win over many more readers.
About the Author
Robert Fate is the pen name for Robert Fate Bealmear, author of Baby Shark, Baby Sharkâ€™s Beaumont Blues, and Baby Sharkâ€™s High Plains Redemption. He is a USMC veteran, attended the Sorbonne, worked as an oilfield roughneck in Oklahoma, a fashion model in NYC, and won an Academy Award. Visit his Web site
Baby Sharkâ€™s High Plains Redemption
Capital Crime Press (May 1, 2008)
Maryann Miller Â —- Â Maryann’s Web site